Excerpt - Marlys in Heaven

AS MARLYS LAY ON THE HOSPITAL BED in the intensive care unit, she also became aware of standing before that white, shimmering tunnel, hesitant to go down its center path. She felt a wave of comfort, somehow sensing it would be a place of goodness and joyful peace. At the same time, although she could not see her mom, her brother and sister, and others at her bedside, somehow she could hear their prayers, even those said silently. Her mother kept reminding God that he had brought Jesus back to life and begged him to bring Marlys back to life as well. But Marlys wasn’t dead yet. She felt drawn to them and resisted the pull to enter the tunnel to heaven. She struggled for what seemed like a long time. In actual earthly time, it was nearly two days.

Marlys is a Christian. Her smile testified to the joy she found in church. She worshipped with her family and had fun with the church youth groups. Being young, she did not have any real thoughts about heaven. “Our Father, who art in heaven,” or the more modern language equivalent, may be the most frequently spoken prayer in the United States. One is left to wonder if Marlys thought about what heaven actually represents. Certainly God’s will had not been done to her on earth.

Maybe she would soon see what “like it is in heaven” means. If someone had asked Marlys what she thought heaven was like, she would have described a beautiful place where everyone got along in perfect harmony. Marlys wanted heaven on earth and tried to share her wish for happiness with everyone she met. Marlys would have described heaven as having clouds and angels. Then she would gather her family and friends with her. Her life centered around the good relationships she had with them. She would give them her smile.

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