May 10

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The Miracle of Heaven and Hell

Girlfriends, tacos, popcorn, chocolate, and a movie.  All wonderful ingredients to make a girls’ night out.

It started with a town-wide blackout.  We were supposed to meet at 5:30 for dinner, and the power went out about 4:45.  I didn’t know whether we’d be able to eat because I thought restaurants would have to close in a blackout.  But the place we were going has gas grills, so they opened the door wide, seated all the customers by the windows, and served lots of margaritas while the food was being cooked – a little slower than usual, but it tasted just as good!  We were lucky.  By the time we were finishing our food, they had to close the kitchen.  I guess refrigeration was turning into an issue after an hour and a half without power.

Our plan had been to watch a movie, but without power that seemed out of the question.  As luck would have it, the power came back on just as we got back to my apartment.  I popped the popcorn in the microwave (I still need to perfect the bulk-popcorn-in-a-paper-bag technique…one batch was half unpopped and one batch was burned), pulled out the chocolate, and we got serious about gabbing for a while before we started the movie.

But when we finally did start the movie – oh my.  It was the Robin Williams’ film What Dreams May Come.  I’d never seen it before.  Several friends (including the two girlfriends I was watching it with) told me that I absolutely had to see it.  And now I know why – it was stunning.  If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil it for you.  I’ll simply tell you that it explores the concepts of heaven and hell and how our own thoughts create what we experience.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my dad, where he might be now, and what he might be thinking of me.  I truly believe that after all the pain and dysfunction of his life, he is somewhere now where he has a broader view – a place where it all makes sense and he has found his healing.  I pray that is true.  This film was another opportunity to explore my thoughts and beliefs about his life and death.

The one line in the movie that caught and held my attention was this: “Good people go to Hell because they can’t forgive themselves.”  Oh, how well I can understand that.  I spent years and years in my own private hell-on-earth because I refused to believe that I deserved forgiveness for being less than perfect.  Today I still work to forgive myself for believing the lies that other people told me about me – lies including that if I didn’t have a perfect body I was unlovable and morally lacking.  Lies that included that my presence would be unacceptable if I didn’t reach someone else’s measure of perfection.  Someone else told me the lies the first time, but I’m the one who has kept repeating them to myself over and over.  That is where my forgiveness work continues to show up.

I’m not in the kind of hell of unforgiveness that I was in a few years ago.  And I believe that there is an even greater heaven-on-earth than what I am experiencing now, so I will continue to work toward the forgiveness that makes that possible.

I suppose that the lights are coming back on in more ways than one.  What a miracle.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

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