No Autumn in Heaven? Pass.
Summer has my heart, while autumn stirs my soul. Winter makes a romantic of me, and spring is nature’s magic. But no season will we find in Heaven, will we?
If we are in the Shadowlands, and this beauty is ash compared to the beauty of eternal bliss, I am almost afraid.
My mind knows that it is reasonable not to understand things that are beyond my nature. It is logical that the being who created me would grasp all, while I can only grasp a little. And it further seems plausible that I would need assistance from that being in order to grasp all, and that He might lend me his capacity in order that I might understand what I cannot on my own.
Now, this is all well and good for us to discuss death from the stands. But place yourself in that arena. Try to describe aloud what it will be like to die. Close your eyes and picture yourself severing all ties with the created world – with bakeries and beaches, with festivals and first kisses, with autumn – and entering into a world that is none of those, but entirely simple. The joy of it will not be in the startling stimulation of the senses, but in the tingling realization of existence.
Can you picture it? Me neither.
But I think I come closest to some drop of understanding after I’ve suffered, after I’ve persevered. Then, something simple like a warm, windy, rainy day in October just feels like Heaven. But that is true because it offers relief in the midst of turmoil. Autumn is not the scorch of summer and it is not the frost of winter, and so it is wonderful. But Heaven is not between trials, or a brief rest on the journey. It is the summit, the treasure, the pearl. It feels the best because it comes at the very end of all the trials, with no dread of the future.
More than that, Heaven is the emergence of the underdog turned hero, crowned and resplendent. Yet, unlike the earthly king who, after his coronation, immediately turns to burdensome duties and weighty decisions, the heavenly hero gives his crown back to the One who bestowed it, and satisfies himself simply with bending his knee in happy adoration.
I don’t know how my soul will live without autumn, but I feel I am too fixated on the yellow brick road. I think that writing stories is helping me force my eyes upward, to reach for the meaning behind the material. If, as a writer, I hope my stories are analogous to the human experience, can I not imagine God, the author of this world, as pointing me toward a higher existence?
I know what you’re thinking. I have too much time on my hands. But humor me and ponder your own death sometime, in the quiet of an autumn afternoon. I don’t think you will be the worse for it. After all, it’s almost Halloween.