Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eternity

Eternity scares me. It scares me the most when I think about it, which usually happens in the wee hours of the night when everyone is sleeping and it is just God and me. I lie on my bed, on my stomach, and feel like it is some sort of lilting platform, careening through time and space. I think, "I'm scared of the next life. I'm scared of living forever. I'm scared of being born into eternity."

In the daylight hours I am busy. What shall we do with the mixed up files with the mixed up statements from all the utilities and credit cards? What shall I make for dinner? Are those beans I'm cooking ever going to get soft enough to mash? What time is karate? Did I remember to wash the karate uniform? How about underwear? Are we out of clean underwear? Are we out of milk? Are we out of gas, can I make it to the oboe lesson?

During the daylight hours a thousand everyday prayers go up: Please help me to remember everything I need while I'm at the store. Please help me remember to switch over the laundry. Please help me find a parking space. Please help me merge onto the freeway. Please don't let the dog be sick. Thank you for the beautiful sunshine. Thank you for the great price on grapes this week. Where is Jon? Oh please, please keep him safe. Please help me not to lose my temper. Please forgive me for losing my temper. Please help me fix the trainwreck of my childrearing. Please help me find my sunglasses.

But at night everything changes. The nitty gritty of everyday fades away and big, scary thoughts loom, thoughts that take the bottom out of my stomach and leave me falling, even as I cling to the sides of my mattress. Heaven appears to me like a gigantic medeival church of stone, imposing, beautiful, gut-wrenching. The presence of God seems like outer space, limitless and (against my better judgment) dark, cold and airless. Eternity feels like a black hole that is sucking me in.

I know that God is not like that. He is love, light and joy. In His presence is fullness of joy. Jesus came that our joy may be complete. We love because He first loved us. He is our protector, teacher, guide, comforter and friend. To be with Him is to be free from pain, sorrow, boredom, sin and death.

In the daylight hours I know that Heaven is a wonderful place and I can look forward to getting there and seeing Jesus. In the daylight hours I can say, with honesty, "I'm not afraid of being dead; I'm just afraid of getting dead."

But at night, sometimes, the thought of eternity really scares me.

5 comments:

Jen said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Also, thanks for the suggestions you left on my blog regarding PMS.

Anonymous said...

I know this is about 2 years later but I have been having almost the exact same feelings lately and was searching on the internet for people who felt the same.

Thinking about heaven and eternity lately, the concept of living forever absolutely terrifies me. I know heaven is a perfect place of absolute happiness but I just can't help these horrible feelings.

Anyways just thought I'd thank you for sharing your thoughts and let you know that you are not alone in these feelings. Just curious if you still feel this way sometimes, 2 years later.

Thanks again

ruth said...

Anonymous,

I haven't felt this sense of fear for awhile. Maybe I have just been able to successfully avoid the issue. Also, a study I've been doing on the promises of God has been filling me with more positive anticipation of heaven.
The thought of living forever is still overwhelming and sounds exhausting, but I am learning to trust Jesus and believe that heaven really will be wonderful.

Ruth

HarringtonCE said...

Ruthie,

I have suffered from these "night terrors" for almost 20 years. When I'm NOT living for God, I don't experience them. When I'm walking with the Lord, they happen just about every night. It's so bad that I've seriously thought about getting medical help to ease my mind :-)

One night about a year ago, my wife experienced me going through the terror. I woke up from a dead sleep and "slept ran" downstairs and out the door of our house. My mind was trying to run from eternity.

Keep in mind, I've suffered in silence with this "darkness" for almost 20 years. I finally mentioned it to my pastor. He said, "that's not from God. Remember, God is light. Darkness and the things that happen at night are from Satan."

He continued to tell me that you need to rebuke Satan and these thoughts as soon as they enter your mind (around sunset for me). Constant prayer rebukes Satan. We pray with our daughters that our house is God's and that Satan is NOT allowed in the house. He has to flee because we are Christians.

My pastor also said to think of eternity in heaven as a party that you're at when you NEVER look at your watch because you're having such a great time.

Finally, Ruthie, I try to maintain a bedtime ritual that includes fun things - I've pretty much got "The Office" memorized :-)

I'll pray for your peace re: this.

gogojojo said...

Why does eternity scare me? I'm not sure why but it scares me a bit. I thinks it more of the overwhelming vastness of it all. No beginning, no end, its all a little too much for me sometimes. I think I can fully accept the fact that things may never have and end or a beginning and that forever may be a reality. Then I remember that things are continually changing. Your body, the world, everything! So even though there may be an eternity things don't last through it. I'm not afraid of boredom, Living in a place like heaven seems awesome to me, being with loved one forever, being enlightened forever. It seems wonderful. Eternity itself is not what scares me, I think its just the overwhelming feeling I get when I think about it, not so much the concept of it, just the confusion of it all. I think the fear that people most associate is the fear of being stuck, stuck in one place, on world, on consciousness. Remember though that every second of everyday things are changing and that even though you believe you are the same person you were 3 minutes ago, your mind was changed from reading this and your body has physically changed. There may be a forever but things never stay the same throughout this forever. Remember god doesn't even stay the same. He/She/It has countless manifestations. You will never stay the same, no matter what you believe in. Even in heaven things change, things are never static and always moving. Nature may always be nature, but its not hard to tell that nature changes with each passing second. I think its conceptualization of time that scares us all. That "what" if I am stuck in the same place for eternity, remember though that place will change and will continue and so will you.