We remember a lot more of our early childhoods than we give ourselves credit for. When my mom was here meeting Miss C awhile back, she asked me what my first memory was, and I immediately thought of my brother’s birth when I was 3 1/2 and how he “gave” me a Barbie and a bag of M&Ms as a gift. Trevor was nothing if not thoughtful as an hours- old infant.
But then, the other day, something triggered an even earlier memory of mine. I recall being really, really little and asking my mom what Heaven was like. I don’t remember what she said, but I do remember asking her if my room in Heaven (because, duh, you get your own room in heaven) could have My Little Pony wallpaper and a My Little Pony bedspread, to which she said yes. When I was small, the image of God that I had in my head was of an old giant with a long white beard sitting in a chair, wearing blue jeans. He was old and bearded, of course, because He was God and predated everything.Thus facial hair. He was sitting because that is the posture of wisdom and omnipotence, according to small me. I suppose I pictured him wearing blue jeans because that made Him a bit more down to earth or something. He could wear whatever He wanted, being God and all. Why not jeans?
I like my three-year-old theology. It is simple, wishful, and nonjudgmental. Of course, it can’t really help you sort out real problems, but what real problems does a three-year-old have that s/he must sort out all on her own? We’ll leave those to the grownups.
When I was small, I chose a My Little Pony theme for my corner of Heaven. This got me thinking what my slice of Heaven would look like now. I came up with a few things.
1. In Heaven, Arrested Development never gets cancelled. It goes on and on, never “jumping the shark” despite its affiliation with several former cast members of Happy Days.
2. In Heaven, WASP-y girls like me can perform Outkast’s “Rosa Parks” for karaoke without the prompter. And it’s not ironic; it’s just AWESOME.
3. In Heaven, all coffee is organic, fair trade, and perfectly roasted. It’s fresh all the time. You never run out of sugar and cream at home, CoffeeMate is not the only thing offered to accompany your cup of free coffee at Jiffy Lube, and your favorite “Keep Austin Weird” mug that you got on your honeymoon never breaks into five pieces.
4. In Heaven, you never feel the pressure to read dud books that people recommend to you. Also, you aren’t judged as a vile, hateful human being when you say that you don’t like Harry Potter and really don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
5. In Heaven, breastfeeding is easy.
6. In Heaven, you can bottle the smell of newborns.
7. In Heaven, you don’t have to use coasters because cups never leave rings on your furniture.
Most of all, in Heaven you are reminded by everything you see, hear, and taste of the wonderful memories of your life and where they came from. You recall them at the precise moments when you will appreciate them the most. Even the hard things that you don’t remember relishing at the time are recalled happily because they added texture to your experience. The smallest things point to the biggest things and make you realize how connected they are.
What is your Heaven made up of?