I have just spent an amazing two hours kicking back and reading a book.
I kept away from news programs on TV. I have not visited my favorite blogs, or looked at online news sources.
For the first time in many months, I slowed down, kicked back and decided that the world would be just fine even if I did drop out for a few hours.
My wonderful wife suggested I take some time and read a book. She smiled as she handed me a small book of around 160 or so pages, and said, this will refresh you; it will give you a lift and you won't be able to put it down until you have finished...and then you will want to read it again.
I have been a reading fanatic for as long as I can remember. I remember as a small child, if I did not have a book to read, I would read anything that was available. The cereal box, the milk carton, the back of my father's newspaper...it didn't matter. If it had words, it had to be read.
By the time I was in grade school, I had read every book in the junior library and was starting working my way through the senior books. (This was my first experience of censorship as some teachers decided I was too young to read the books I wanted to read - boy, how I wish things like the internet and kindle were available when I was a kid!)
My love of books waned for a short while when I discovered girls and surfing...both events happening around the same time. Even then, when the waves beckoned I could often be found sneaking a few chapters in while waiting for the sets to get bigger.
Through my early working years, and then early family years I could always find a book that would capture my attention. While I went through stages of being into different genre's (scifi, fantasy, thrillers, and espionage were all hard to walk past) I also loved historical accounts, biographies and true life type stories. I loved to discover through the written word what makes people do what they do and be who they are. What was it that shaped their lives, and helped them form their beliefs?
At University I studied business, marketing and psychology...an odd mix but probably a result of my quest to understand what makes people do what they do, and a belief that if I understood that I could understand business. Throw accounting into the equation and economics, and you have a very unusual mix of skills....lol
Life has a way of sometimes getting so busy that we don't take the time to slow down and refresh. Some can do that by visiting nature and spending some quiet time relaxing in its arms, listening to the stream wending its way over the rocks that form its bottom. I personally love sitting on a beach and watching big waves rolling in and crashing on the shore. I find the motion and the sound hypnotizing and can sit there for hours at a time. (In my younger days I would search the water with my eyes to find the ever present rips and read the breaks, and after a half hour of closely watching the rhythm of the ocean would plunge in with my board and seek the excitement that only big waves could bring.)
We all need to find that place of solitude, to recharge our batteries and to find strength to fight another day. There will always be another liberal dragon to slay, or another stupid statement to debunk. As for today, it was time for me to recharge my soul by sitting down with a good book.
I looked at the title of the book my wife handed me..."Heaven is for real"....
Now, I am a believer...but have not had much time for institutionalized religion. I find the attempts by church groups to pigeon hole faith into a whole litany of church rules very distracting to my own beliefs and understanding of God. Where some may find traditional churches uplifting, comforting and a source of strength, I find it limiting. Just as some prefer a lazy stream meandering through gentle meadows, I prefer the rough and tumble and uncertainty of the big waves. Every man and woman has to find their own way to God.
So, when I read the title of this book I couldn't help but wonder whether it was just another attempt to pigeon hole believers by using the threat of heaven or hell as the motivation for belief. I could not have been more wrong.
This is the story of a small boy who just before his 4th birthday nearly died. This is about his near death experience...and his 3 minute trip to heaven. This is about his father, a small town pastor who rages at God for the unfairness of things that happened, and whose guilt overflows in moments of pure honesty.
This is about the discovery, over a couple of years, of what heaven is all about. This is about finding God in a way I have never before heard of. This is about questioning everything we have been taught and trusting everything we know.
I don't know where you all stand in your beliefs. It matters not.
Whether you are a devout Christian who attends church frequently, or an atheist, reading this short book will challenge what you think of as heaven or the blankness following death. It will lift you up...between moments of tears and joyful laughter, you will find yourself wondering..."What if...."
I don't recommend reading very often (in fact, this is the first time since starting this blog), but I strongly recommend that you set aside two or three hours from your busy schedule, sit back, and engulf yourself in the words of this book. A conversational style makes it easy to read, while the story is a real page turner.
For more information visit: http://www.heavenisforreal.net
The book is available from Amazon or your favorite book store.
Let the politics slip by for a few hours, let the stupidity slip into irrelevance as you refresh your mind with this book. A couple of hours is not long to spend on yourself.
Be like the Nike man.....just do it!