I have been debating whether I should blog last night's activities or not. Last night I had a very personal and religious experience. Rarely do I blog about such things and I do not want to come off preachy or churchy. On the other hand, I want to remember this experience and look back on it and this blog would be the perfect way to chronicle it.
So I offer this disclaimer. It basically comes down to this:
It's my blog and I will blog what I want to.
So if you are uncomfortable about religious things, just stop reading. I will do my best to make sure this does not come off as preachy. And I will do my best to explain things for those that are not in the LDS faith. Everyone is invited to read on and comment if they feel like it. I will be happy to answer any questions and if you would rather e-mail me personally with your comments, you certainly can by e-mailing mplatis28 (at) hotmail.com
I also apologize in advance for being a little sappy.
Last Sunday while attending choir practice I was asked if I would participate in a special musical number for the combined Young Men/Young Women's activity for Tuesday. I accepted, I enjoy being around the Young Women since one of Kristy's callings (jobs) is to teach the Young Women. In our Church, all members are asked voluntarily to assist in teaching and providing service to other members (and non-members alike in our neighborhood). Kristy's "job" is to help teach the Young Women (ages 12-17). Most of the activities are fun activities and are usually aimed at helping the youth build good relationships with each other. In that way the youth will bond together and help each other live the Church's principles. But every once in awhile we use this opportunity to teach the youth the Church's principles. And this is what was done for this occasion.
Last Sunday each member of the Youth were given plane tickets to Hawaii and they needed to meet at the Church Tuesday night to leave. The leaders (those in charge of the Young Mens/Young Women) had set up some chairs on the stage and we had some Church members play the roles of pilot and flight attendants. The youth were all dressed up like they were going to Hawaii. They all boarded the plane and were excited about the trip. They were served some refreshments (Kristy was one of the flight attendants) and they were off ready to have a good time.
Then the plane went through some turbulence and suddenly lost an engine. And then they crashed and died.
Were they flying Oceanic 815?
This is what the lesson was all about. What happens to us when we die? Well, the Youth were going to find out rather quickly. The lights were out in the gym when suddenly a spotlight shined on one of the leaders who was dressed all in white. And he informed the Youth that they have all perished in the crash and now were on there way to heaven. He took them through each kingdom and taught them about who would be there and what type of afterlife this would be. (I know I am breezing through this, if you have more questions about this type of stuff go here.)
I didn't get to go through everything that the Youth did so I don't know what they went through. My part was to be in the Celestrial Kingdom (the highest degree of glory in heaven) and to welcome the Youth and to sing in a heavenly choir. All of the leaders and all of the choir members were dressed all in white. Each Youth was called in individually and welcomed into heaven.
It was cooler than that neat old Battlestar Galactica episode where they got into that "Ship of Lights" and discovered they were all in white.
The look on their faces was priceless. One of the girl's when she entered the chapel and saw all of us in white she burst into tears. Her mom and dad were Youth leaders and she made a bee-line to them and cried in their arms. The leaders ushered each youth to their seat where they were greeted by our Bishop (the Bishop is the one who leads the local Church). After a small talk given by Amber (the Bishop's wife) we sung for the Youth.
We sang "I am a Child of God" and I have to admit that it was difficult getting through the hymn.
This is exactly how I picture heaven being when I die. I imagine that we are escorted by loved ones into a room to meet with God and that room is filled with other loved ones that have passed on before.
Being in the audience and watching the Youth enter heaven was unbelievable. I don't know many of these youth personally but I cannot describe how I felt watching them come in.
I know that this was fake. I know we were just acting. But the feelings were genuine and real.
I was excited to see the kids. I was excited that they were with me in "heaven". I am positive that the joy I felt is just a fraction of the joy I will feel when I die and see my friends and loved ones again. I can only imagine who will be there to meet me. I can totally see my grandparents ushering me in, I can totally picture my family members sitting up on the stage, smiling warmly as they see me. That joy will only be matched when I get to greet my friends and family when they pass away. When Logan and his family come in, how happy will I be?
After we sang, the Bishop shared with us a couple of scripture from the Bible and then he left about fifteen minutes for anyone else to say what they felt. Kara, (the girl that ran to her parents) came up and spoke to us. And I am in awe. She is only 13 years of age and she has it more together than I do. She spoke about how we can all make it together if we all help each other. She didn't just speak of her family, she spoke to all of us. And I felt like she was talking to me. Here is this 13-year old girl, speaking with words way beyond her years, telling me that I can make it to heaven and that she'll help me because we are all in this together. What a beautiful example she is to me so full of charity.
A few more of the youth spoke and then we concluded the activity and had some refreshments. No one wanted to leave their seats. I didn't want to be on the stand anymore, I wanted to be with Kristy and I wanted to be with the kids. I came down and met with Kristy and we spoke to some of the girls. It was like being at a family reunion, it was like we were seeing each other for the first time in ages. I cannot express how it felt, all I know is that I was tremendously happy to be with them and to share that love and happiness. I am so impressed with them, they won me over when I attended Girl's Camp a couple of months ago but this activity sealed the deal. They are tremendous examples to me. They go through adversity, more than I ever did at their age, and yet they came out shining. I wish I had half their strength and conviction.
Aside from family, these are the people I want to hang out with in heaven. And if I had died in that plane crash I couldn't ask for a finer set of people to die with. I am so thankful that I was able to take part in such a beautiful activity. I am so thankful for where I live and who my neighbors are. I am so thankful that Kristy serves with these awesome Young Women so I keep the privilege of hanging out with them. And I am thankful that families are forever and that I can be in such a peaceful loving place with my family and with my neighborhood family here when we pass on.