It’s Great Up Here
By Karen O’Connor -
I was sorry to hear about the unexpected death of my neighbor, Carl. I knew it would be difficult for his wife, Marion. They’d recently celebrated forty-five years of marriage and in recent months they were inseparable—well almost. Marion was totally committed—devoted even––to keeping Carl healthy so he’d be around for a long time. She couldn’t imagine life without him. And I could see why. He was tall and still good-looking for seventy-nine years and he was a fix-it man besides. There was nothing Carl couldn’t do around the house and yard. Maybe Marion had an ulterior motive for serving her hubby seaweed and wheat germ!
I have to admit, though, sometimes it was a real drag to be with them, especially at community potlucks or holiday buffets. Marion was a broken record (make that a CD) on the subject of healthy eating. She prepared lots of veggies, bran muffins from scratch, raw fruit at every meal, and plenty of fresh, purified water. And whether or not you wanted her advice on how to renew your energy, you got it.
Carl went along with the plan because he loved her and he wasn’t the kind to make waves in a calm sea, but I could see the mischief in his eyes when she wasn’t looking. His friends saw it too.
Henry, who lived in the house behind Carl and Marion, once told me that when he and Carl met for lunch on the days Marion played golf, Carl indulged himself in all the no-no’s like chocolate cake (sometimes two big slices), hot fudge sundaes, eggs cooked in bacon grease, and a double portion of pure whipped cream on his apple pie. He loved them all. Figured it didn’t hurt to have a little fun once in awhile as long as he was being “good” most of the time.
Carl used to joke about what it would be like in heaven. He could imagine St. Peter ushering him through the pearly gates and then pointing for miles around at the huge buffet tables filled with all the goodies Carl loved. And best of all, they wouldn’t be forbidden in heaven. Surely God wouldn’t post a list of healthy and unhealthy foods. New creatures in Christ wouldn’t have to worry about counting calories anymore.
“There will be no more tears and no more pain in heaven,” he said chuckling at the prospect, “so I won’t have to watch what I eat. No cholesterol to check either!”
Henry said now that Carl was gone, he could picture his dear friend looking down on him and shouting, “Henry, it’s great up here. No diets, no exercise regimes, no restrictions, no bran muffins. If I’d have known all this ahead of time, I’d have come a lot sooner.”
Heaven does sound heavenly at this point in life. There are still so many things to deal with on this side of eternity. I’m watching Marion now that her partner has left for his reward.
Sometimes I ache for the time when I won’t forget where I laid my glasses, whether or not I brushed my teeth, what my own phone number is. But then I stop and realize it’s wrong to wish my life away. God will bring me “home” soon enough. Meanwhile, pass the bran muffins.