Thursday, May 31, 2012

Heaven on Earth

My son had that look on his face. The one where the weight of the world pulled down the sides of his mouth, cheeks and eyes such that he drooped and dragged himself to bed with excruciating significance. Normally I might sigh and imagine the drama he was concocting...some frivolous argument with his brother or some imagined threat of doom from a TV show he saw earlier...something not worth my time to get into at 9:30 at night during my brother's wedding party. I have other things to do. "Stop sighing and GO TO BED!" I might demand.
But I am it. Meaning his father is working, not here. I am it. The full parental unit and that gives me total responsibility for the status of my children. So I step up.

I ask him what is going on and he sighs loud enough to scare a katydid. It's a big deal. It's bad words. Some ladies were saying them. He is upset and concerned. But over what? We walk from outside to his bunk bed and sit on the lower bunk. Maybe this is a place that occurs as more discreet because he stops sighing and lets it all out. He is afraid he won't get into heaven if he uses words like that...which he he knows now that he is going to hell...and then the tears come. He is sobbing for his soul. My soul wants to sob with him. I don't want my son to fear hell, to fear for his life, to fear anything. Especially not over a word that means nothing except the meaning we attach to it. I want to know what his world is like.

I ask him about hell, what happens there, and with a cry that might tear my heart open he says, "It's burning hot and everyone is bleeding and working ALL THE TIME!!!"
My chest feels as heavy as a boulder, my hand weighs upon his and he clenches it. I get the doom he feels. Life can be so HARD as a kid I think. The world can seem so AWFUL.
I see his picture of hell and I ask him what might have him go there. He tells me about the swear word again. The A one. I say it just to verify. Ass. He blinks with fear. Then I ask what the ladies were saying. What happened.
It's good to get to what's so.

"Mine is bigger than yours..." he says. I get it. "So two ladies were talking and one was like "My ass is bigger than your ass, what are you talking about? and then, Uh HUH honey, NO WAY- my ass is way bigger than yours!"
I shake my hips and point to my rear and waggle my finger and soon a smile creeps on his face. I smile with gentle encouragement and then say "Ass ass ass ass ass." His eyebrows go up but the smile stays.
"They are just words, son. And the only meaning they have are the meaning we attach to them. Of course there are appropriate and inappropriate uses of words..." and I explain the bit about being around boys versus Grandma's or at school etc.

Then the concern creeps back to his face. It's really about getting into heaven. Even though he gets the meaning about the words. He has said that word before so that means he is going to hell.
"The only way I can get into heaven is to believe in God." he says.
I say, "Okay so there is only one way?" He nods. He is sad because he has ruined that one way, because God doesn't want us to swear and he has so that's it. His one chance is over. He is doomed.
"So sweetie, is there only one way to paint an apple?"
Is there only one way to make a friend?"
"Is there only one way to go home?"
"No" he is getting my point...
"So why would there be only one way to go to heaven?"
"Yeah, I can see what you mean...there are other ways..."
"If you even believe that there is only one place called heaven with one door...some people believe heaven is an energy or even a way of living right now here on earth."
"You mean heaven can be here on earth?"
"Well... what if it could? What if heaven and hell could be right here, right now? Is worrying, being fearful, being that closer to heaven or hell?"
"The last one," he said, still to concerned to say the words out loud.
"What would being free, being easy and forgiving and compassionate with yourself be closer to?"
"Yeah, so you can create heaven or hell on earth right now for you today...can you see that?" I smooth his hair back and feel his warm soft forehead. It wasn't long ago that he was born and I knew, just from seeing him, that he was a blessed soul. I told him so, even if we never did a ceremony to bless him, which we did, but even if we hadn't he would be blessed. We all are. We are spiritual, blessed, amazing human beings and our purpose is not to worry, fret and fear what will happen after we die, whether we go to heaven or hell. It is to create heaven on earth right now.
His grip on my hand softens with his voice.
"That means being compassionate right Mom?"
"Yes And that includes being compassionate with yourself. Can you do that?"
The tears fell again, this time of relief, from being heard and redeemed.
Our hug melted all concerns...and as I hummed him the lullabye my mother hummed to me as a baby, I was touched by the gift she gave me, the concept of creating heaven on earth, right here, right now, is being present, loving and compassionate.
I sigh a sigh of fulfillment because, more important than teaching my son about one way to believe, I am inspiring him to wonder.
Thank you Mom for empowering me to be a Mom that, I am pretty sure, is not going to go to hell.

Zen Honeycutt

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