Writing With Life by Pat Bertram

I don’t have any use for heaven. The idea of eternity is a bit much for my poor human brain to fathom, especially eternity with a bunch of folks with whom I have no affinity. Think about it. Do you really want to spend forever and ever and ever with that jerk who cut you off today while you were driving and then gave you the finger as if you had done something wrong? And what about the abusive husband you divorced years ago and still cannot tolerate. Do you really want to spend eternity with such a jerk? Or what about . . . well, no need to go into more detail. You get the picture.

Some people believe that our jerkness dies with our bodies, that we immediately become wonderfully stellar creatures, but then what’s the point of striving to become more than we are here on earth if in heaven we automatically become that “more”?

Even more confusing, one person’s heaven is another person’s hell. For example, to some people, heaven would be filled with dogs, but to others, that would be pure horror. So, if there is a heaven, or even an after life where we are more than oblivious waves of energy, do we get to create it to our own liking? If we are active participants of creation instead of simply recipients, then heaven could be infinitely plastic, molded into whatever we wish.

Rheavenecently, a fellow author reminded me of  a saying by William Watson Purkey:

Dance like there’s nobody watching.
Love like you’ll never be hurt
Sing like there’s nobody listening
Live like it’s heaven on earth.

I keep thinking about that last line: live like it’s heaven on earth. If heaven is malleable, is earth also malleable? If we are participants in creation, can we create more than just art or crafts? Can we mold ourselves and our surroundings into something more than they are? Something . . . other?

Perhaps we are already forming our world with our thoughts. If everyone thought of a different world all at the same time, would our world change to that new vision? It’s difficult to get three random people to agree on anything, so getting eight billion people on the same wavelength would be impossible. Still, can one person remove herself enough from the collective consciousness so that whatever she writes with her life becomes manifest?

Maybe life isn’t what we think. Maybe it’s a tool, like a pen or a box of crayons, and we can write whatever we wish with it. What will you write? What will I?


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”


Filed under life, musings, Pat Bertram, writing

11 responses to “Writing With Life by Pat Bertram

  1. You raise interesting questions, Pat.

    A.L. Prusick wrote, “It may be that we have all lived before and died, and this is Hell.”

    People often ask what amounts to, in my mind, the silliest question ever asked: “Why does God allow suffering in the world?” Because he gave us free will! If the world is an ugly place in which to live, if suffering runs rampant, and we find ourselves on the brink of extinction, it’s because WE allow it to happen.

    C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, “Nowhere in the bible does it state that we will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven.”

    That’s a sobering thought to me, that I may never see my parents again, that I won’t have the chance to atone for some of the wrongs I’ve done to others, because here on earth, I’ve lost touch with them and have no way to get in touch with them. Which is a good argument for living life right the first time, so that we don’t have any regrets.

    You’re right: who really can conceive of eternity? Yet it’s depressing to consider that “earth to earth, dust to dust” means just that, that the last time I close my eyes and take my final breath my existence will cease altogether, I won’t advance to some other plane of existence.

    If there is nothing more after death, then all of this is meaningless. Or is that simply ego?

    • But being in great pain because of illness, pain that medications can’t control? How does free will fit into that? That we want pain? Such pain is a construct of the body, and we did not create the body. We came with the body, so to speak.

      For me, it’s the meaninglessness of life that’s so fascinating. If there is life after death, no matter what we do, by definition it has meaning, so it doesn’t matter what we do. If there is no life after death, and hence no inherent meaning, then it doesn’t matter what we do. Within certain parameters, we can create whatever meaning we want, write whatever we want with our lives. Be the moment.

      It’s odd that so many people find the thoughts of oblivion frightening, yet to me, the most frightening thing of all is eternity. Never ending. Yikes. Even odder to me is that for myself, oblivion is just fine, but when Jeff died, I hoped that there was life after death, because I couldn’t bear the thought that he was gone forever. Like CS Lewis, I don’t believe I will ever see him again. Hence my prolonged grief. It was forever.

  2. A great piece, Pat. Really interesting. More than interesting, actually, it’s very thought-ful. A couple of responses to J.Conrad Guest. (Do I call you J? Or J Conrad? Or JC?)

    The point about suffering and free will is well taken, but you’re going to have to contend with all those folks who say things like, “The tornado missed me because I prayed” or “I pray the Yankees win the World Series” or “My daughter came through that illness because of my prayers.” Free will? Or an all-powerful God (who therefore allows suffering)? Hmmmmm.

    And, it’s funny that you find the thought of no afterlife making life meaningless because I see it exactly the other way: it’s extremely meaningful if that’s all there is.

    JC, I hope you don’t think I’m taking issue with you; just parsing it out.

    Thanks, Pat. Interesting, indeed.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this piece, Carole, because all these thoughts stemmed from a comment you’d left on a previous one of my blogs. Until then, I’d never heard of Purkey’s words.

      One additional thought is that the reason we can’t really change things with our thoughts is that the world is thinking us while we are thinking it. Sort of like quantum theory, where the observer creates the happening. We are all observing and being observed, not just by each other but by life, and so the present is being created from infinite possilities. Of course, there are also those who believe that we are living in infinite dimensions, with each choice creating a fork in the world where we walk down both paths at once.

      Here’s to meaninglessness and infinte possibilites!

  3. I have created my reality with my thoughts on numerous occasions. But it wasn’t just the thought, but the desire and action that followed the thought that manifested a result. I agree that there are many with opposing thoughts possibly hindering progress, but I think everything that exists, began with a thought.

    Does Heaven exist? I tend to think it’s more of a mindset, which would be a thought, right?

  4. You want a physicist at your funeral…

  5. OOOOOO. You dared to go “there.” In our culture, even speaking against the existence of angels can get you shunned. The idea of life after death seems to be one that mankind can’t let go because death is very scary indeed without this notion. I do love the way the rulers of ancient cultures killed all their attendants so they could have the same servants in the afterlife. Now that’s certainty.

    By the way, there’s a hilarious book by Tad Williams about a little feud between heaven and hell. Volume two is coming out in Sept. You’d probably love the book and he is a top notch writer, one of my favorites.

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