About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

P is for Paradise

Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. (Wikipedia)

The word "paradise" comes from an old Persian word having to do with beautiful gardens. That brings to mind the story of Adam and Eve. Everything was perfection there - lots of good food, perfect climate, and no sin. Heaven is also a form of paradise as Jesus promised the thief on the cross that he would soon be with him in paradise. So what will it be like there? Since no one has ever come back, we don't know for sure. Maybe it will be different for each one. Maybe we'll find ourselves living harmoniously in peace and contentment with those friends and family members who have preceded us. Maybe we'll end up as "guardian angels" and return to an earthly existence to help others.

I have been blessed with the gift of faith and believe with all my heart that I will go to Heaven one day. Why do I believe so strongly in this afterlife? I have three very vivid reasons - my grandmother, my late husband, and my parents.

First, early one bitterly cold morning in Ottawa, I was on the bus heading to work. The harsh lights of the bus contrasted with the black of the outside, causing the bus to appear twice as wide as it was. Head nodding, gently bumping against the frigid windowpane, I suddenly became aware of a presence. It was my grandmother who had passed away two years previously. I did not see her body or hear her speak to me. I just simply knew she was there with me. I smiled and said (in my head) "Hi Grandma!" And then she was gone.

Next, my husband took his own life in August, 1992. It was an extremely traumatic time in my life and it took me years to recover. About a month after he died, I came home from work and went upstairs to change into casual clothes. I was so exhausted from work and grief that I didn't have the energy to get beyond my slip, so I lay down on the bed. Suddenly, he was there! Again, I didn't see his body or hear him as you would think you'd hear someone. But, I did hear him say to me, "I'm okay now, Sweetie." And before I could sit up and utter the words, "Don't go!" he was gone.

Finally, my mother passed away in 2002 and my father joined her in 2007. I had been the last one to be with my mother before she passed, and I was with my father when he took his final breath. About a month after my father's celebration of life, it was a beautiful sunny day in October, so I decided to go for a walk. The leaves were brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges and had just begun to drop. I'd been walking for about 10-15 minutes, admiring the colours, when suddenly my mother and father were with me. My mother was on my left and my father on my right. Again, I didn't see their bodies but I knew they were there. I remember being so stunned that I just kept walking and smiling, hoping they would stay. But as suddenly as they were there, they were gone.

Now, I have told some of my Christian friends about these experiences and they looked at me like I was crazy. Only a few believed me and actually envied me those moments.

Why do I think they came to me? Well, first of all, my grandmother had been raised Baptist, but did not believe in an afterlife. She believed that the end was just that - the end. Perhaps she was trying to tell me that she had been wrong all her life and wanted me to believe. Second, my husband had never been a believer, either, and knew that his illness had been an extremely difficult time for me. I believe he was reassuring me that everything was going to be okay since he was then okay. Finally, my parents had had a very rocky marriage, with my mother often wanting to leave my father. Perhaps it was their way of letting me know that they were reunited and would always be together, happy in the end.

Life can be hard. But my faith in an everlasting life in Paradise keeps me going.


Smalltown RN said...

Leslie....whatever you want to call it..and if it gives you peace of mind then so be it.

My family call me the "pychic". I had premonition years ago about my brother having a cardic arrest...and then my nephew passing...I always seem to know when there is unrest.

I wish I was more like you and received the postive...the Paridise...what a beautiful place.

I look forward to my day....to seeing my mom, dad, sister, niece, nephew...and so many others that have left me....

What a wonderful post Leslie...you know what you experience is so personal to you..and I for one believe in your experiences...don't let go of that connection..whatever it is....

Have a great week!!!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

What a wonderful picture to use to illustrate paradise!!! You have lots of beautiful places in Canada too but for me the place in that picture (Plitvice Lakes, Croatia) truly is as close to Paradise as you can get in this world. My all time favorite place that I have had the good fortune of visiting.

As for your experiences with your loved ones, I tend to be skeptical about these things but I am open to the possibility that I could be wrong. Probably, these sort of things can never be "proven" to anyone else but it must be personally experienced. If it has strengthened your faith and your relationship with God, then it is indeed a blessing.

Liz said...

Wonderful experiences for you, leslie.

Trubes said...

Wondeful conception of Paradise, Leslie, and well written.

It's a pity our Islamic brothers have such a different view.
They seem to believe that they have to murder and mutilate the masses before thy reach 'their' Paradise and 'their' Seventy Vestal Virgins!

Hope Lorne is improving and you are getting your rest,


Sylvia K said...

Whatever it is that brings that peace into our lives is all that matters, Leslie, and it would seem to me that you have accessed that in a perfect way to deal with the heartaches you've had to face in your life. A beautiful and wonderful post for the day! I hold good thoughts for you!


photowannabe said...

Thank you so much for sharing such intimate parts of your life with us. I too believe in Heaven and do believe that sometimes those that have passed return to give us encouragment to our spirits.
I think the Lord gives us what we need to keep going.
Blessings and keep holding on.

Life with Kaishon said...

I believe in heaven! I am so glad that the ones you love came to give you peace : ) what a beautiful gift. I have been thinking about loss lately and it makes me so sad.

Wanda said...

I'm a Christian, a Baptist and a total believer in what happened to you.... It has happened to me, and I think it's God's grace and mercy to let us have these tender moments with those we miss and love so much.

After my sister's son was killed in a work related accident, he visited her in a dream, or in the flesh, but it was Stuart, and it gave my sister so much hope and comfort. It only happened once, but it was enough.

This was a wonderful post, and don't let anyone rob you of your experience.

Love and Hugs

Wanda from Brushstrokes.

Carol said...

Leslie, you are such a good sharer. I certainly do believe in life after death; and there are many people who have written about experiences such as yours. You have been blessed.

Tumblewords: said...

A gorgeous picture that is. Peaceful experiences for you, that's good!

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences Leslie - there is so much disbelief and apathy in the world today, and it is good to hear of a positive faith.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm a Christian, and I believe you're not crazy. You gotta not listen to those who would deny what you experience.

It only happened to me once: it was on top of a mountain, it was cold, and i had some blackberry brandy. But it was my aunt Deana, my grandma Green, Martin Luther King Jr, and Jesus Christ!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

jabblog said...

Lovely post, Leslie - it seems your faith is being rewarded and strengthened.

Manang Kim said...

A very inspiring post and thoughts from you and I am so thankful of that. Happy Wednesday!

ABC Wednesday~P

*♥Shydub♥* said...

This is indeed a paradise and i wish i could go there too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I envy you your faith, Leslie. Beautiful picture, too.

Jay said...

I believe you. I've seen, felt or 'heard' dogs who have passed on. Only the other day I saw a flash of bright fawn and the glimpse of a head and shoulders as a greyhound ran up behind me as if he was asking to go with me for a walk, and I looked around only to find Sid fast asleep in his bed in another room. My little Jack was the same colour, just a bit smaller, and it felt like him. It's comforting, isn't it?

david mcmahon said...

What a powerful way to share the experiences, Leslie - by writing about them.

You were so fortunate to experience the presence of each of your loved ones.

Beverley Baird said...

I believe right along with you Leslie. If I didn't, then what point is there in loving and living?
It makes losing loved ones a bit easier as I know we will be reunited.
Hope you are keeping well. You continue in my prayers.

Shrinky said...

What a beautiful post Leslie, full of hope and belief. You have certainly walked through many fires, if anyone deserves a paradise, you most certainly do! (Hugs)

Always smiling said...

Hi Lesley
It was a breath of paradise reading your mail for me after our trauma this week
Do get married and not bother whether it is a grand affair, Life it too short to be alone and as you have met up again with your school sweet heart, and his op has proved all is well, grab the happiness with both hands and go for it.
A wonderful post and thought provocating, I believe there is an after life and yes there will be music there!
Love and Blessings
Chris x