Himmel is the German word for Heaven and sometimes also Sky. A little over a week ago I think I might have tasted of this Sky.
The person previously known as “The Best” completed another year of existence and we celebrated by going out to dinner with my family. (Tonight will be another birthday dinner for him, with Wayne’s family – who couldnt be available for the first dinner because of some kind of sports playoff or other such nonsense.)
Those in attendance included myself, the birthday boy, my parents, one of my brothers and that brother’s wife. They drove in from out of town to get dinner with us and, per his choosing, we dined at an eatery called Bagger Dave’s. It’s a burger place and not terribly cheap. It is terribly delicious, though, and I enjoy their veggie burger and wide assortment of beers.
While we dined and drank we chatted about all manner of things: a little politics, some television, work related frustrations, family lunacy, etc…
It was quite heavenly for me, as it almost invariably is. It also brought to mind a conversation had while the Beloved and I vacationed in Minnesota to see a good friend and his wife. While we were in Minnesota, we ran all over the place visiting places to shop and temple sites. Usually while on vacation to somewhere I’ve never been before things are almost rigidly scheduled. Each day comes with a list of things to achieve in order that we could make the most of seeing things entirely new to us. We do our best to stick to our schedule, but when things don’t go as planned we improvise and reroute our intentions so as to continue making the best of it all.
One thing there wasn’t nearly enough of while in Minnesota was down time spent lounging and chatting with those dearest and nearest right then. Of course, I mean to say that we would have loved to spend more time just chillaxin’ with the friend and his wife than we did. We did, however, have one evening of chatting which will remain with me for at least as long as I retain my current physical form.
After running all over the place, the four of us went to a grocery and had a pizza made fresh for us, which was then brought back to their dwelling and consumed while we chatted and drank beverages. When I say, “we chatted” I really mean I conducted an interrogation.
I’m inquisitive by nature but when you grow up people just call it being nosy. I don’t care. I want to know things and I want to know people and I want to know how someone works and why they work that way. This leads to interrogations. Just accept it. Having spent the last decade and then some with the Beloved, I have a pretty good handle on what his answers to my questions might be. And the good friend, too, is someone I’m in contact with frequently and there are already many times when I’m able to predict his responses to things (he’s able to do the same with me, so we’re even). It was, however, my first time seeing, hearing, and hugging – indeed experiencing on any level – the friend’s wife, Prems. So she was my target. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure she was super willing to be my victim, but I don’t usually take things like that into consideration, so it’s little wonder why I went on with the questioning.
I wanted to know what Prems believes. I asked her many questions, the specifics of which now escape me, but they all pertained to her thoughts and beliefs in regard to God, the soul, afterlife, heaven/hell, karma, reincarnation….Y’know, that kinda stuff. I recall that there were many times when her answers required me to ask additional questions based off of those answers. It was mandatory and she obliged, and to be clear it wasn’t just a back-n-forth between Prems and me. Her husband and mine both engaged in the conversation too, and believe it or not there were times when I manipulated the conversation to specifically pull wisdom from my Beloved. (If I’d asked the same questions of my Beloved, just the two of us, he’d hardly be willing to humor me, but in a group setting he’s sometimes more willing, so I took advantage of the opportunity.)
I remember, as an answer to one of my questions about heaven or hell or the afterlife or something that she described something almost like “memory lane” but not quite. She mentioned the possibility of hanging out with our loved ones after we die. Just enjoying each other and enjoying seeing each other once again. Maybe this was what she said heaven might be like or some kind of stopping place before re-entering existence. I don’t recall exactly, I just recall her saying it. I also recall thinking to myself that I wasn’t sure if I could buy that entirely, but I was really relieved to know that she at least had thoughts about this subject and that they equated peace for herself. It was pure, mostly god-free, beauty coming from Prems and I loved the fact that it was all her own. This all happened months ago, but I still smile – and often – because of it.
This is where the first part of this post comes back into focus. Sitting around chatting, laughing, disagreeing, commiserating, and eating with those dearest to us is heaven. Nothing is sweeter to me than seeing my family change and grow as I do. My parents, my siblings, my nephews, and my friends are all miracles to me – I’m not even kidding. Of all the murtis available to humanity, this is Ganesha’s realest form and the one I worship with the most sincerity. In the most mundane of ways these people (my family and friends like Prems and her husband) in my life amuse and amaze me and this, increasingly, is where I find God’s presence to be the strongest, most concentrated, and truest.
Prems is right. Be sure of it.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha