The Afterlife: It’s Not as Different as you Think!

Throughout the ages, the afterlife has been pictured in many different ways—more ways than we can possibly list here. Christians alone have pictured heaven as:

  • The endless pleasure of intelligent and witty conversation with other angels
  • Perpetual feasting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve Apostles
  • Relaxing in the everlasting springtime of garden paradises while breathing in the fragrant odors of beautiful flowers and enjoying the delicate taste of delectable fruits
  • Ruling over the masses as fabulously wealthy and powerful kings and queens
  • Praising and glorifying God to all eternity in vast, ornate cathedrals, complete with powerful organ music and inspiring hymns sung with thousands of fellow worshipers

In more recent years, under the influence of near-death experiences together with the mystical strains of various eastern religions, conceptions of the afterlife have grown even more fantastic. One account has us flying on the wings of giant psychedelic butterflies through vast Technicolor panoramas. Or, as inhabitants of the astral realms, we may be seen as diaphanous beings of light wafting around and through one another as we engage in mysterious dances that manifest the harmony of the spheres.

Now, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities. For the most part, they’re harmless enough—though I’m not so sure about all those kings and queens! And I have it on good authority that whatever our idea of the afterlife may be, we’re given the opportunity to try it out after we die, and see how we like it.

Even for people who have a less fantastical idea of what the afterlife might be like, I suspect that it’s common to think that death will bring about huge changes in our life.

Perhaps it will.

But I’m here to tell you that the afterlife will not be as different as you think. In fact, in the ways that count the most, the afterlife will be a seamless continuation of whatever your life has been here.

That should get us to thinking about just what we’re doing with our life here on earth.

Let’s look at the afterlife based on:

  1. the Bible,
  2. rational thought, and
  3. human experience.

Angels in the Bible

The Bible doesn’t offer much in the way of descriptions of the afterlife—and the descriptions that it does give seem more symbolic and allegorical than literal in their message.

What the Bible does offer is quite a few stories of people on earth encountering angels from heaven. And though those angels may be presented as powerful and even radiant beings, the general sense is that they are just as human as we are, and that they engage in the same sorts of activities as we do.

Consider one of the first angel encounters in the Bible. In Genesis 18, Abraham (whose name was then Abram) encountered three angels, who are variously identified as “men,” “angels,” and “the Lord.” The sense that we get from the story is that these were three angel emissaries through whom the Lord spoke to Abraham.

What did Abraham do when he saw these three men standing near him? He treated them just as he would any earthly travelers who came his way. He offered them water to wash their feet, and food and drink to satisfy their hunger and thirst. He then stood by and waited on them as they ate.

In fact, there’s nothing about the story to indicate that Abraham saw these three guests as anything other than men—human beings—who were visiting him at his tents. No wings, no shining garments, no lightning bolts zapping trees.

Yes, they bore a message from God. But what’s most striking about these three men is how similar they were to any other honored guests Abraham might have encountered in his various encampments. They ate and drank with him, then rose up to engage in conversation with him on important subjects that would change the course of Abraham’s life, and the life of his wife Sarah.

If we turn from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, to Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we find a scene in which an angel is showing the Apostle John visions of future events in the spiritual world.

Not once, but twice (in Revelation 19:9–10 and Revelation 22:8–9) John was so overwhelmed by the experience that he fell at the angel’s feet to worship him. In each case, the angel stopped him. “You must not do that!” he said. “I am a fellow servant with you and your companions, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (John 22:9). The angel places himself the same level as John—a mere human being—and on the level of all of his fellow believers and prophets.

Yes, angels in the Bible are presented as powerful beings. But they are also presented as very human beings, who are simply inhabiting the next world rather than this one.

In fact, the angel speaking to John went on to say something fascinating about this:

Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. (Revelation 22:10–11)

You would think the angel would say that evildoers should repent, and that those who are filthy should clean up their act. But in the eternal world where he was living, that’s not how it works. There, people continue to live to eternity according to whatever character they have developed here on earth, whether evil or righteous, whether filthy or holy.

It just makes sense

Now let’s look at the afterlife from a rational perspective.

Consider the thought that this temporal world is a training ground and a place of preparation for our life in the eternal world. And consider the thought that God is probably pretty good at designing this world to prepare us for the spiritual world.

Now ask yourself this question: If God wanted this world to train and prepare us effectively for the spiritual world, would God make this world very different from the spiritual world, or very similar to the spiritual world? Which would prepare us better?

To use a human analogy, think of the time-honored practice of apprenticeship—or as it is often called these days, internship. In any practical career that involves skills and experience, the most effective way to prepare neophytes for the job is to immerse them in the job under the supervision of those who are actively engaged in it as a career.

  • Physicians don’t go directly from the classroom to their own medical practice, but spend a year or more as interns (or residents) learning the ropes while practicing under regular doctors.
  • Students who graduate college with an MBA commonly take entry-level jobs at various financial firms or other business in which they are trained on the job, preparing them to rise up to higher business management positions.
  • Airline pilots must put in a certain number of hours flying with experienced pilots before they are licensed to fly airplanes on their own.

If we humans are smart enough to train people for responsible positions by giving them on-the-job training and internships, don’t you think God is at least as smart as we are?

God has, in fact, designed this world to give us practice in all of the same things that we will be doing in heaven.

If you want to get some idea of what heaven will be like, look around you. Once you die, you’ll be doing many of the same things you do here. That’s especially true of activities that involve serving your fellow human beings. Heaven is all about loving and serving one another in useful, practical, and spiritual ways.

What those who have been there say

Now let’s look at heaven and the afterlife based on the experience of those who have been there.

The most plentiful source of such experiences is the increasingly common phenomenon of near-death experiences. And at first glance, the reports of people who have died, visited the spiritual world, and come back to tell us about it may make the spiritual world look very different from this world. Often these brief glimpses into the afterlife leave those who experience them amazed and spellbound by the powerful experience of love and light that they have had in their brief encounters with eternity.

And don’t get me wrong: the spiritual world is a beautiful place, full of powerful experiences.

However, near-death experiencers are something like tourists in the spiritual world. What do tourists flock to see? The magnificent structures and beautiful vistas that the countries they are visiting have to offer.

And yet, while the tourists are oohing and aahing at the country’s greatest wonders, its ordinary citizens are working away at their jobs, taking care of their children, going grocery shopping, and playing a game of tennis or going to a rock concert.

To get a more realistic picture of what the afterlife is like after the initial wonder wears off, we need the experience of someone who has spent a long enough time there to see what life is like once things settle down.

That’s where Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) comes in.

Unlike those who have had a brief glimpse into the spiritual world in the course of a near-death experience or a vision, Swedenborg, according to his own account, spent nearly three decades—from his mid-fifties until his death at age 84—visiting and exploring the spiritual world.

It took him a while to get acclimated. In his earliest writings about the spiritual world, he was still figuring out the lay of the land, how it all worked, and what to call the various regions, spiritual beings, and phenomena that he saw there.

Swedenborg’s most famous book, Heaven and Hell, was published over a decade after his spiritual eyes were opened. By that time, he could write confidently, from extensive experience, about heaven and the daily lives of angels in the various regions of heaven.

And he does describe some wonderful things. For example, in the spiritual world, all you have to do is think about someone that you really want to see, and you will be present with them instantly.

It is also possible to see and hear things over vast distances.

Wait a minute . . . . That’s not very different from what we can do now, is it?

In many ways, our fancy modern telecommunications gadgetry is just our technological way of doing what angels and spirits have been able to do in the spiritual world for thousands of years.

But back to the point, despite the fact that heaven has many wonders, and gives us many capabilities that we don’t have here on earth, perhaps the most striking thing about Swedenborg’s descriptions of everyday life in heaven is how ordinary it all sounds.

Angels get up in the morning, eat, go to work, come back home and enjoy an afternoon or evening of recreation, eat dinner, and go to bed. They have their Sabbath days in which they attend services where they listen to preachers. They have other events and celebrations that they enjoy. And yes, they even play tennis and go to concerts.

If you read through Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell, even with all of the wonders described there, the overwhelming sense is that angels and spirits really aren’t all that different from people here on earth. They engage in all of the same activities—though perhaps with a bit more clarity and single-mindedness than many of us do here on earth.

Our life in heaven is a continuation of our life on earth

If there’s anything Swedenborg wants to impress upon us about what our life will be like in the afterlife, it is this: In the afterlife, we will continue to be exactly the same person that we have become through our life here on earth.

I don’t know about you, but I often have thoughts like this: “Yes, life is a pain here, but it’s only temporary. Once my time comes to move on to the next life, all of my struggles will be over, and life will be wonderful.”

Maybe so. At least, I certainly hope that at least some of our struggles will be over. Doesn’t the Bible say that we will have rest from our labors? (Revelation 14:13).

It is really talking there about our inner labors—our mental and emotional struggles over who we will be as a person. By the time we move on to the spiritual world, our general character and course will have been set by our life and choices here on earth.

That character is what we carry with us into the spiritual world. Consider what Swedenborg says in Heaven and Hell #461:

As spirit-people, we enjoy every outer and inner sense we enjoyed in the world. We see the way we used to, we hear and talk the way we used to; we smell and taste and feel things when we touch them the way we used to; we want, wish, crave, think, ponder, are moved, love, and intend the way we used to. Studious types still read and write as before. In a word, when we move from the one life into the other, or from the one world into the other, it is like moving from one place to another; and we take with us everything we owned as persons to the point that it would be inaccurate to say that we have lost anything of our own after death, which is only a death of the earthly body.

In other words, in every way that really counts, we are exactly the same person after we die as we were before. And we will pursue exactly the same sort of life that we pursued in our heart and mind—and through our hands—while we were here on earth.

My final words for you today, then, are short and sweet:

Do you want to have a good, happy, and loving life with your fellow angels in heaven to all eternity?

If so, then start building that life within and around you here on earth. Because whatever life you build here on earth, that’s the life you will carry with you into the spiritual world . . . and that’s the kind of life you will continue living to eternity.

For further reading:

About

Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in The Afterlife
27 comments on “The Afterlife: It’s Not as Different as you Think!
  1. Richard Neer says:

    Hello, Lee.

    I have a question regarding your posted perception of afterlife:

    If life continues on the same, as it were before but in a different state and medium, what is the point, specifically, for those who may have tragically lost their significant life partner, their ‘soul mate’, their very joy and perceived purpose in life, to trudge onward through the pain, agony, despair and utter desolate existence of their lives, hoping to find order, re-balance, and a reason to move forward and onward?

    If life was joyous and complete (albeit never perfect – we are human, after all), why would the remaining partner not only wish and anticipate reconnection with their loved one, but also strive to make it so? I realize this touches on a dark and quite controversial subject, but I was just wondering why, if one can continue the life they had up until such tragedy struck, they would want to have any other? Their sudden feeling of complete separation and loneliness has an easy solution, no? Not necessarily one accepted or condoned by the general public (excluding various religious stances), but if your presentation is accurate, still a fitting and prompt solution to one who is in pain, experiencing angst, and torment, and looking to go back to, and continue, the joy and contentment they might have had shortly before.

    How does one cope with the anticipation of rejoining a most-loved one if they continue life’s mortal journey here which may lead them down paths to interact with and develop similar feelings for another? That would seem to create much inner conflict and, perhaps, be cruel in nature, specially for those whose lives were spent, to a greater extent, dedicated to the love of, and commitment to, a single other.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comment and questions, which I know come from very painful events in your life. Losing a beloved wife (or husband) is one of the most painful experiences any of us can ever go through.

      And, not to sugar coat it or beat around the bush, the reality is that some people do take their own lives in the aftermath of losing their spouse. It’s really no one else’s place to judge. But it does create a double tragedy for those left behind.

      To take the last issue and question as a way of getting at the rest, there is no way to guarantee that a husband or wife will still be there after potentially years of separation. These are matters of the heart and of the inner character, which can be very difficult even for the most perceptive of us to see with any clarity. Only you know the level of connection you had with your wife, and only you, or perhaps a few close family members or friends, can judge the quality and cohesiveness of the bond that the two of you had with one another. And only God knows it fully, and knows what the future will hold.

      Having said that, there are a few things to consider in relation to this question.

      One is that the partner who died will continue in the same direction she or he had set here on earth. There will be no major changes of character. Only a revealing of the true inner character if that was not already expressed in the person’s outward actions here on earth. You do not have to worry about your wife changing, becoming a different person, and thus growing away from you.

      If anyone were to grow away, it would be you. You are still here on earth. Your character has not completed its formation, and still has some malleability to it. So your wife would have more to worry about you growing away from her than the other way around.

      On the other side of the question, if your relationship with your wife was a deep one, and was based on a real inner oneness of loves and values, it’s very unlikely that the bond will be broken by death. Real marriage is based on core values and on core elements of the character of the marital partners.

      These core elements do not change easily. You would have to go through a profound change and upheaval in your life, and change your fundamental beliefs, motives, and character, in order to break that bond. If, in the years you have been on earth so far, you have developed a fairly strong rootedness in who you are as a person, the change that remains while you are here on earth is probably not a fundamental change in your character, but rather a deepening and development of it, and perhaps growth in some particular areas that remain undeveloped or underdeveloped.

      That brings us to one more thing to consider.

      Only God truly knows where each one of us is in our spiritual development. Only God knows what we have accomplished, and what we still need to accomplish spiritually during our life here on earth.

      The biggest concern about committing suicide in despair over the loss of a partner is that this might actually make it harder, rather than easier, for you to be with your partner spiritually and eternally.

      I don’t know the mind of God. But I have to assume that if God has kept you here, God sees that you still have work to do here on earth to become the person and the angel that God envisions you being. Perhaps there are still undeveloped elements of your character that need to be developed here on earth so that you can be truly and fully one with your wife in the afterlife.

      I think of one elderly couple I once knew who were very close, and the wife died first. Everyone thought that they both had a strong and abiding faith. But when the wife died, the husband fell apart. It took him several years to regain his footing and begin to stand on his own faith rather than what had evidently been happening before: he had been leaning on his wife’s faith. I believe that God kept him here longer because he needed that time to develop his own faith apart from his wife so that his faith could be a true match for hers in the afterlife. By the time he died, he had regained his footing and his faith, and, I believe, was ready to join his wife in heaven.

  2. Richard Neer says:

    Hi Lee. Thanks for the response.

    As you can imagine, the sea I am swimming in is quite large and daunting and I’m not about to dismiss, nor deny, the multitude of thoughts I have had. Many days, treading water is most difficult and seemingly counter-productive, yet I am still here trying to make sense of it all and find my footing, whether faith has anything to do with it, or not.

    But, my questions come from a point of view that is founded in trying to rationalize the continuance of this mortal existence for anyone who has suffered the severance from a loved one or life partner.

    I can certainly appreciate the husband’s position referenced above. However, it seems more like cruel and unusual punishment that ‘God kept him here longer because he needed that time to develop his own faith apart from his wife so that his faith could be a true match for hers in the afterlife.’ That’s a lot of torment, pain, suffering and emotional distress to go through, and all of it takes a toll on one’s health, both mentally and physically. Some say that God only puts upon one that which they can bear, but I wholeheartedly challenge that in the face of witnessing quite the opposite results many times during my life.

    The bond that existed between the husband and wife was bound by love, the need for each other, their dependency upon each other, and their utter joy to exist with each other. Given that, and your proposed concept that life pretty much continues on the same after death, why would the remaining partner want to consciously do anything to jeopardize that bond, intentionally or unintentionally, due to prevailing circumstances yet to be experienced in their mortal life to come? Why would they subject themselves to the possibility they may grow apart from their partner such that, when they die, they will not experience the joy of being with each other through eternity? They would not commit such actions, nor put themselves into circumstances that would lead to such, when both were alive, so why would it not be in both parties best interests to rejoin each other as soon as possible to continue the life they had been experiencing? (excluding the double trauma to those, if any, left behind).

    If each of their faith levels were more than sufficient to bond them deeply in this mortal plane together, why would they not be good enough for God to allow the same wondrous life together in the next plane? That seems a bit judgmental, doesn’t it? And, I don’t think that when tragedy strikes, either mate would be further along than the other in such a way that it would, or should, hinder the acceptance by God of the remaining mate to join the first and continue their lives together, regardless of time frame.

    And, isn’t the sudden death of a spouse considered to be a profound change and upheaval in one’s life? Many don’t ever recover from such trauma, while others pause, mourn, and move on to the next. I, personally, don’t grasp the concept of ever being able to earnestly give one’s heart to another the same way without forgoing the bond one once had with a previous mate, therefore eliminating the possibility of rejoining them. To be able to give one’s heart earnestly to another, one must truly replace the original, which is not a desired solution. To not do so would be a false expression of one’s genuine feelings, which is also not a desired situation.

    What would happen if the remaining mate ultimately found another ‘true’ love, and either of them then died? How does that impact the first mate who died? Would that not be unfair and cruel to not be able to then continue the life they originally had together? How does this get reconciled in the afterlife? I don’t think polygamy is an accepted course of action in the afterlife!!

    • Lee says:

      Hi Richard,

      About your final set of questions, please see this article:

      If You’ve been Married More than Once, Which One will you be With in the Afterlife?

      This will also provide more extensive background on the question of eternal marriage in the light of possibly multiple partners here on earth than I can give in these briefer comments.

      • Richard Neer says:

        Lee,

        Do you ever sleep? How and when do you find the time to compose all the writings you have thus far to, so often, be directing questions toward articles you have already written?

        Are you a real person, or just a machine cranking out prose? Or maybe you have a room full of captive cherubs with typewriters ultimately putting forth works equivalent to the likes of Shakespeare for you to draw upon? LOL!!

        Either way, I do enjoy your perspective and insights, and the format with which you present them so, Thank You!

        • Lee says:

          Haha!

          I wish I had a room full of cherubs with typewriters!

          I think what I got instead is a brain full of monkeys all randomly banging away at typewriters. How I manage to come up with a few Shakespeare sonnets in the midst of all that gibberish I really don’t know! 😀

          Let’s just say that these articles are a labor of love. I’ve only got so many years left on this earth, and this is what I’m here to do.

      • Richard Neer says:

        Lee,

        I had already read that one before along with a few of the other linked articles, but I did just reread it anyway. Unfortunately, it currently does little to quell my uncertainty and angst over not only my wife’s eternal future, if she indeed has one, but my own as well.

        It does seem, in the simplest of terms, to be quite like a game of eternal musical chairs in matching up eternal mates (one person, one chair). But, as we all know, ultimately there is always one who does not get a chair. If your intended chair goes to someone else, you must find a new chair, and thus create a cascading effect that ends with one person without a chair. Unless you also take into account all the single, mate-less ones and propose that new eternal mate bonds can be developed among them in the afterlife much like here on earth, I would conclude that someone, somewhere, sometime will end up on the short end of the stick. We all know there are countless sad and unfulfilled mate-less people in life so by your account, there would also be in the afterlife.

        Regardless of how it turns out in Heaven, I still would perceive it unfair to at least one party involved, one who believed in their eternal match found here on earth, but who is ultimately disappointed come the afterlife.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Richard,

          I suspect that satisfying answers will come for you only through a process of time and reflection.

          But to the specific issue here:

          This, from my perspective, is where God comes in.

          If it were the job of us humans to coordinate the eternal, spiritual lives of all of humanity, it would be like a game of musical chairs in which half the chairs are removed each round, and 99% of people ended out on the short end of the stick by the time the game is over. We humans with our limited minds aren’t capable even of comprehending the full complexities involved, let alone harmonizing them into something that works not only overall, but for every individual involved.

          God has no such limitations of mind. Nor does God have any limitations of heart, such that God would not provide for us everything for our eternal happiness–if only we are ready and willing to accept it.

          But to cut to the chase:

          According to Swedenborg, God, who sees all from eternity, provides eternal marital partners for those who long for love and are willing to do the personal work of spiritual rebirth and growth that renders them capable of accepting and experiencing true marriage. Swedenborg says that God prepares couples for one another from birth, each of them being entirely unaware of it.

          How exactly God does this, I do not know. But I have seen it happen among friends and family. My own parents, for example, were truly bound together in spirit. Before he died, my father’s memory had gotten so bad that he couldn’t remember what had happened five or ten minutes ago. But right up to the end, he happily recounted in vivid detail how he fell in love with my mother over sixty years earlier, and how he knew she was “his girl” right from the start. It was an entertaining story that involved a motorcycle!

          If God is able to do it for some people (which I know from experience), I see no limitation that would prevent God from doing it for all people.

          Except, that is, the limitation that some people reject real, spiritual marriage through the choices they make in their lives. But I don’t think you have much to worry about on that score.

          There are single people in heaven. However, they are single because they have chosen celibacy and confirmed it within themselves to the extent that it has become a settled and deep part of their character.

          The usual state of angels in heaven is to be married to someone who they remain with to eternity. And Swedenborg’s experience was that those who longed for happy eternal marriage received it in the afterlife even if they had not received it here.

          Swedenborg himself, despite his great desire to be married, and at least two unsuccessful attempts at courtship in his young adulthood, remained a lifelong bachelor. But there are suggestions in some of his diary entries that he believed his marital partner was waiting for him in the spiritual world once he finished his work here on earth. She was a highly educated and intelligent woman who was not available here on earth because she was married to someone else.

          As for whether you will be with your wife in the afterlife, that’s not a question I can answer for you. I can only say that if the two of you are truly bound together in spirit, then when it comes your time to die, she will be there waiting for you–and the two of you will reunite with great joy!

          Perhaps I have been recommending the wrong Swedenborg book for you. Perhaps the book you really want is Marriage Love. Though it contains much that is controversial in this day and age, and speaks in terms of many gender roles that are now generally considered old-fashioned and even sexist, that book is where Swedenborg lays out the divine, spiritual, social, and practical principles of marriage as it exists both here on earth and in the spiritual world.

          Unfortunately, the New Century Edition translation of Marriage Love has not yet been published. I hope it will be in print within the next few years. Meanwhile, the most readable version available is the one titled Love in Marriage, translated by David F. Gladish. It’s not currently in print, but you can find it on Amazon at this link:
          Love in Marriage, by Emanuel Swedenborg

    • Lee says:

      Hi Richard,

      Your more general question about the rationale of continuing here on earth when your beloved spouse has moved on to the spiritual world has echoes in my own family history and lore.

      My maternal grandmother, who was an ardent and intelligent Swedenborgian, and married to a Swedenborgian minister, outlived her husband by quite a few years. Her biggest question for God during that whole time was, “Why am I still here? Why can I not be with my husband?”

      Now if she, who knew Swedenborg’s teachings as thoroughly as anyone alive, had to struggle with that question, I can confidently state that it is a very personal and difficult question–one that does not have a simple, doctrinal, one-size-fits-all answer. Every person and every relationship is unique. We can only find answers about our own situations within the context of our own lives as they unfold.

      The reality is that none of us really knows at any given time the full reasons for why we are here on earth, and what we are meant to accomplish during our remaining years here. Only God knows that. And only God is able to direct our lives to achieve the best eternal outcome.

      About the cruelty of suffering and torment here on earth, though I do not want to diminish the reality of the pain and suffering, please weigh in the balance, if you will, even many years of pain and suffering here on earth against an eternity of joy and fulfillment in the spiritual world. There really is no comparison.

      If you, looking at your life from a position above the fray, could see clearly that by enduring ten, twenty, thirty, or more years of pain and suffering here on earth, you would become capable of experiencing thousands and millions of years of joy, fulfillment, and a deep sense of peace, wouldn’t you choose to endure the temporary pain in order to achieve the permanent joy? We humans commonly endure pain and suffering in order to accomplish greater goals to which we have set our minds and hearts.

      It’s not that God is cruel and wants us to suffer. It’s that God sees that our resistance to truly joyful and heavenly life cannot be broken down without our experiencing pain and suffering even to the point where it crushes our spirit. For more on this, see this article:

      If God is Love, Why all the Pain and Suffering?

      It would take a book even to begin to give a full answer to these questions. But this article will at least provide an outline.

      About my grandmother, as my mother told the story before she, too, passed on, after my grandfather died my grandmother would write my mother letters in which she would always express impatience that she (my grandmother) was still on earth, while her husband was in the spiritual world.

      Then one year our annual church convention was going to be held in the city where my grandmother lived with her other daughter way out in Western Canada. This would be an opportunity for my grandmother to see many family members and friends that she had not seen in years. She wrote a letter to my mother saying how happy she was in the anticipation of seeing her and my father and others she loved.

      And you know what? She died not long before the convention was held.

      Though that could be seen as a cruel irony, my mother had a very different interpretation. In her view, God was saying to my grandmother, “Okay, Anita, now that you have finally dropped your impatience, and are willing to look at the joys of what you do have instead of continually focusing on the sorrows of what you don’t have, your work here on earth is complete.”

      My grandfather was a person of great heart and great joy in life. I believe my grandmother needed time on her own to drop her intellectual efforts to control what she thought God was supposed to be doing in her life, and to accept that there are still blessings of family and friends to be enjoyed, all of which are gifts of God.

      Of course, everyone’s story is different. I’m not saying your situation is the same as my grandmothers or as that of the elderly gentleman that I mentioned earlier.

      However, these are two examples of people who lost beloved spouses, grew impatient and even angry at God for the terrible pain, suffering, and injustice of it, and then, as the years passed, gradually came to accept God’s providence over their lives. Once they came to a place of acceptance and even joy in life, they were finally ready to leave this earth and rejoin their wife or husband who had passed on before them.

  3. Richard Neer says:

    Lee,

    The story of your grandmother is a very touching one, with significant correlation to many in life.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Rich

  4. Richard Neer says:

    Hi Lee,

    I am puzzled about something. In this article, you state:

    “Angels get up in the morning, eat, go to work, come back home and enjoy an afternoon or evening of recreation, eat dinner, and go to bed. They have their Sabbath days in which they attend services where they listen to preachers. They have other events and celebrations that they enjoy. And yes, they even play tennis and go to concerts.”

    Does this statement not imply the afterlife is comprised of corporeal, physical matter attributes, having properties of a physical existence? And if so, how is it possible, where, on what plane of existence? After all, you can’t play tennis and hit a ball which does not exist with a racquet that does not physically exist either. These statements empirically define a physical world.

    To continue with my inquiry, I am going to correlate our ‘soul’ with our energy, or spark of life as some may call it, or our ‘life force’, since this energy does exist within us in the physical sense until our death. Its origin is still unproven, and its departure from us still holds many mysteries. However, our physical existence is comprised of chemical reactions to, and creating, electrical impulses which further our existence, or life, as we call it. Therefore, in this context, I liken it to our ‘soul’, for definition.

    If, when we die here on earth, our (energy) soul continues on with its existence and ‘life’ persists pretty much the same, then where is the new physical matter world that the soul must become part of to experience such continuation? To the best of any scientific position I know of, our energy would still exist in this plane, just as our lifeless physical body does. How could it not? Energy is a measurable attribute (though our ‘soul’ technically is not – a conundrum in itself here), and laws of physics do apply, specifically The Law of Conservation of Energy, in that, energy simply cannot just disappear (leave our plane of existence). So, where does it go to to become part of this afterlife you describe?

    This descriptive ‘life’ above would require physical matter to exist, physical food sources (and the need for them, or many would be jobless!), engineering, mechanics, bio-energy sources and the utilization and consumption thereof, etc, and the whole gambit of material presence we refer to as life here on earth.

    Yet no physical world or destination is ever presented as the afterlife, or that of which we are taught, or what we are given as any definition to Heaven, Hell, or Eternity for that matter. In fact, it appears to be just the opposite. If one is to believe in the dogmatic teachings of faith and religion, that is.

    Another point or two that has been pestering me is what I ran across in others’ reviews regarding Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell. His interpretation of Heaven, or presentation thereof, did not include animals (or pets) having the same attributes they have here on earth (animals do not have souls). Or that beautiful gardens may, in fact, be only mirages and not actually made up of all the flora that exists in creation, complete with its different textures, aromas and other attributes. How would this be possible in your scenario? Does this not conflict with your presentation? What is your interpretation of these points? How does this coincide with what you stated above?

    Rich

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for all the great questions! It’s much more than I can respond to in the comments section, so I’ve written and posted a (fairly long) article. It still doesn’t deal with everything you’ve inquired about here. But I hope it covers your biggest questions. You’ll find the article at this link:
      Is Heaven Physical? Can Angels Play Tennis?

  5. Richard Neer says:

    Rolled your sleeves up for that one, did you?

    I do hope you rewarded those monkeys with a magnificent, well-deserved feast, and that your medical plan covers carpal tunnel syndrome! ;-p

  6. alixstar11 says:

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve been scared of change for all my current 15 years of life, but I just find it hard to imagine I’ll be able to settle into an eternal life in an entirely different world. Just thinking that far ahead is making me panic somewhat, and yet I physically can’t stop thinking about it.

    At the same time, I’m afraid of not existing, yet surely at some point even those in the spiritual world will cease to exist?
    I’m probably just overthinking things again 😛

    I do have some questions to ask though:
    1. Do you absolutely HAVE to live in the community you are sent to? Say your parents or good friends live somewhere else in the spiritual world and you want to go and live with them, would that be possible?
    2. Does technology exist in the spiritual world such as computers, gaming consoles, iPads? Can you play video games on them or are they too violent or something?
    3. I assume that any permanent injuries gained in this world such as blindness or deafness are cured once we move to the spiritual world, but what about mental disabilities/disorders such as Aspergers? How are they accommodated into the spiritual world? And what about people who were for whatever reason born deaf/blind?
    4. What are things we can do here on Earth that we can’t do in the spiritual world?

    Sorry if my post was rather lengthy, but some clarification would be appreciated!

    • Lee says:

      Hi alixstar11,

      Good questions! In my reply to your earlier comment, I linked some articles (and videos) that may be helpful to you about the afterlife. And no, people in the spiritual world don’t ever cease to exist. God has given us souls that will live forever no matter what choices we make here on earth. Of course, if we choose a life of love and kindness, we’ll have a much better time of it than if we choose a life of selfishness and greed.

      In answer to your questions:

      1. We aren’t sent to a community in the spiritual world. Rather, we go their by our own choice, because that’s where we most want to live and feel most at home. If you don’t happen to end out in the same community as your parents, you could still visit them. People in heaven can travel, too!
      2. Everything that exists here on earth also exists in the spiritual world—and at a much higher level than what we’ve got here. So yes, there are spiritual equivalents of our computer and gaming technology. Maybe even the next version of your favorite game! 😉 If you’re into video gaming, you might like this article and two others linked from it: What Does the Bible Say about Video Games?
      3. Yes, physical injuries here on earth will go away in the spiritual world, perhaps with a period of transition to make it a little easier on us. And mental disabilities will also be taken away. For those who were limited to a certain mental age, they will continue growing up from that mental age in heaven. Other types of mental disabilities will be healed as well. There may still be some effect on the person’s character, but they will become fully capable adults mentally and emotionally. You may be interested to know that Helen Keller loved Swedenborg’s teachings, and wrote a book about them: Light In My Darkness, by Helen Keller. She looked forward to seeing and hearing again when she reached the spiritual world!
      4. Anything we can do on earth, we can also do in the spiritual world. Except die. 😛 Of course, if you’re in heaven, you won’t do any mean or greedy or hurtful things anymore.

      I hope these answers are helpful to you! Keep on searching for answers! And if you have any more questions for me in response to any of the articles here, or just from your own thoughts, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      • alixstar11 says:

        Hi again! Thanks for the answers, they were very helpful.

        Unfortunately, I am still absolutely terrified of an eternity anywhere, and it’s not really the best thing to be afraid of in this case. It’s very conflicting because eternity is scary, yet not existing is also scary… 😦

        I think it’s something to do with the idea that I may eventually get bored and not find anything to do anymore – even though I’ve been happy with the same few things for all my now 16 years of life. I’ve even researched fear of eternity and I think it may be something to do with my analytical mind not being able to comprehend a neverending existence…

        I’m not really sure what to do and I was wondering if you have any advice.

        • Lee says:

          Hi alixstar11,

          It’s good to hear from you again. Happy 16th birthday! (Whenever it happened.)

          In response to your fears, let me try something out on you, and see if it strikes a chord.

          Two of the major transitions in human life are birth and death.

          When we are born, we leave behind the safe, warm, comfortable womb of our mother, where we are fed and cared for by our mother organically through the umbilical cord. All of a sudden we are outside, the cord is cut, and we have to live in the big wide world. Yes, our parents (if they’re good parents) still care for us. But the fact that so many of us come into this world crying says something about how rough that transition is!

          At the other end of our life on earth, death is, for must of us, a transition from everything we have known and experienced here on earth into the great unknown. Even for those of us who have some knowledge of the afterlife from reading about people’s near-death experiences or from Swedenborg’s book Heaven and Hell, which provides a guided tour of the spiritual world, hearing about it is not the same thing as experiencing it for ourselves.

          So both of these, birth and death, mark a huge transition and change in our lives as human beings.

          However, you, at the age of sixteen, are getting very close to another major transition—one that is almost as big as birth and death. That change is the transition from your childhood years into adulthood.

          In our childhood years, our parents (again, if they are good parents) take care of us, love us, and provide for our physical and emotional needs. We are mostly free to live our lives in a relatively carefree way, learning and growing while not having to be responsible for such pesky things as food, clothing, shelter, and so on.

          All of that changes when we make the transition into adulthood.

          That transition may be gradual (if we spend a few years in college) or sudden (if we move right out into the working world). But once that transition is complete, our life is completely different from what it was before. Now we have to get up every day and go out to a job that we may or may not like to put food in our stomachs, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. And the people we work for, and with, probably aren’t anywhere near as unconditionally loving as our parents were. Yet they’re commonly the people with whom we spend the most time in our adult years.

          In your previous comments you’ve mentioned how close you are to your parents, and how much you fear losing them.

          And yet now, at the age of sixteen, you’re only a few years away from the time when, if you follow the usual course, you will move out of your childhood home and away from your parents, and begin your own life as an adult.

          That’s a huge change! And I suspect it’s one that causes much anxiety in your mind and heart.

          And to come to the point, I suspect that’s the real fear your facing now, and that your fear of the afterlife is actually a stand-in and substitute for this fear that is much closer to home and heart for you: the fear of separation from your parents and having to live on your own for the first time ever.

          If I’m right about this (and feel free to tell me if I’m wrong!), then my suggestion for you is that you look that very present and immediate fear in the face, and begin to deal with it in your own mind and heart.

          Talk it over with your parents. They’ve been raising you all these years. They obviously love you and care very much about you and your life, or you wouldn’t feel so close to them and so fearful of losing them. Keep in mind that they’ve raised you to become an adult who can make your own way in the world, and to do great things with your life! They may have some thoughts that will be helpful to you as you move closer and closer to that huge, scary change of entering adulthood.

          Also, if you don’t yet have any goals for your life, start thinking about what you want to accomplish when your years of schooling are over and it’s time to move out into the world. It doesn’t always work out the way we plan it. But simply having goals gives us something to work toward and look forward to.

          What kinds of things do you love to do? How would you like to use your particular character, talents, and experiences to contribute to society and the world? What is the meaning and purpose of your life here in the practical terms of what you will do and accomplish with your adult life?

          It won’t be long now before you’ll be making that big transition. The more you can prepare yourself for it mentally and emotionally, the less scary it will be when it arrives.

          I do believe you’ll make that transition successfully, even if you’ll experience some bumps and bruises along the way. You’re a thoughtful person, and contemplative about your life. And you’ve had sixteen years now to learn and grow as a person. There’s no reason this won’t continue and carry you into your adult years.

          And I believe that once you’ve made that transition successfully, and have begun to find your place in the adult world, your fears of the afterlife, and even your fears of losing your parents, will begin to subside. Your life will take on its own meaning and purpose. And that will give you a reason to keep living each day, and to look forward to a future in which you continue to learn and grow as a person, and to achieve more and greater things with your life.

          For another article that might be helpful along these lines, please see: Heaven, Regeneration, and the Meaning of Life on Earth

          And another one that will give you some perspective on the big picture of your life here on earth: Seasons of Life

          I hope this helps! And if I’m completely off-base with my hunch about the real and immediate fears you are facing at this time in your life, feel free to try again.

          Meanwhile, Annette and I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life.

  7. silverpen123 says:

    First, let me say that I enjoy your answers tremendously. Thank you so much for making this available and putting your knowledge out into the world. I apologize if this is long. (I’ve been attacked for that too!)

    I came upon this article in search of finding out if my husband is with me in any form since he recently passed. It seems the answers I’m finding sound vague and unassuring. In fact, it seems it’s only making it worse for me by not being fully addressed. The lack of knowledge and flippant attitudes I read in many places/books answering to this loss is seen/addressed as equal to other relationships – they are not – which don’t come near answering the burning questions to move forward here on earth during this separation. I was relieved to see Lee asking the same type of questions I asked. Thank you, Lee!

    The answers come from one side of this death equation, blaringly letting me know that grief is totally misunderstood on planet earth. Letting me know that he, the deceased, is fine and happy and loved. I know he’s fine. I’m the one fighting my way through the muck on earth, not fine by any stretch. I don’t ever hear the messages of spirits through people saying, “I know it’s hard, honey, I’m here with you. I miss you so much.” No. I hear, hey, we are so happy here, don’t worry about us. WHAT??? Sounds like the spirits are almost the equivalent of children who got their lollypops, skipping along while we have to put together shards of pieces that never quite fit back even with gorilla glue. That we are more alone than ever since their death, in a world of complete ignorance for the true union of this type of love. Makes me want to give up, since he took my soul and world with him. He definitely has it better than me. I’m willing to seek and learn on that side, than fumble with the muck, lack of info, lack of love, and mostly a lack of him in my life. No one knows my situation to see what I see and know already. I’m grieving, not stupid.

    Fortunately, I did find a blip of solace on my own, purely by accident from Swedenborg’s Love in Marriage (321):

    (g) This new thing should be added to these observations: that
    these two are not even separated by the death of one, since the
    spirit of the deceased husband or wife continues to live with the
    husband or wife who is not yet deceased. And this continues
    until the other one’s death, when they meet again and reunite
    themselves and love each other more tenderly than before because
    they are in the spiritual world.

    I have to wonder why this isn’t addressed from the few other Swedenborg sources around the internet? Or by famous mediums? Why this type of union is passed over in answers – that they stay with us, or even HOW they stay with us – and no one recognizes the depth of questions grieving soulmates have regarding this separation? It gets brushed off, danced around, and we can’t move along in our grief until the questions are answered for both peace and understanding from knowledge, confidently. It’s so misleading when truth can be known, and should be sought out. How does anyone grow or move onto right action and choices if the knowledge isn’t addressed or answered, yes, specifically? It presupposes that fumbling and falling is a given, across the board no matter what. There are no authorities who can tell me that I have to do it the hard way, but it is only them that make it hard by averting to look deeper in compassion to guide or point.

    What I do know is this: my emotions are merely a gauge to my thinking. If I’m in so much pain, it’s only because I have uninvestigated thoughts and beliefs. So I dig deep to find those things, and only real knowledge can put my mind and heart at ease. Nothing, of course, can change the facts and reality that his body is no longer here to enjoy with me in this form, sensory deprived in every way, so I miss him terribly. Nothing can change the fact that I am struggling to survive without him, being that our lifestyle was his craftsman travel for work, and I by his side to help him live on this earth well while he worked for us. And my answer is that I cannot survive even remotely well enough to live beyond a few years here. There are no little rays of hope of wanting to continue without him. Our love fed us both in every way. We were the port in the storm on earth for each other. Our love was God’s gift to us. That understanding pretty much goes unaddressed, unacknowledged, unknown by others not suffering the magnitude of the loss and all that goes with it. Only my husband and God would know what it’s doing to me, but of course, I should be at peace because “he’s fine”. He most definitely got the better end of this deal.

    “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”. (Lilo & Stitch) He’s not forgotten. I am left behind. For years I fought for the truth of family and what it means to all people for our base of love and survival. Now, in a world that has forgotten the true meaning and backbone of family, a God given gift that humans need for Love, survival and growth, I am left feeling so utterly alone and unsupported without him in every way. The core of the family – him and me together, man and woman – is gone here on earth. The rest of the world around me seems to forget this important detail – I had to explain this to him a few times so he understood the magnitude of it because he didn’t see it by the way he was raised and lived. But like most of us, he knew he was missing something important – real love.

    Anyway, my life will never be the same without him because of my deep love for him. I can only hope the beauty, love, and all his passed on peeps in the afterlife don’t distract him, like a shiney object, from the love we shared here (tongue in cheek), or that he doesn’t hook up with his passed on first girlfriend. How am I to know what he felt about her vs me? I love him, no doubt in me, but it wouldn’t be the first time I was used as a fill-in for human needs on this earth because I see and give my heart, while standing by truth/love. How am I to know what he’s experiencing and feeling now, sees honestly, or testing out, or maybe even betraying me with his love? (According to what I’ve read, people on the other side test to see who’s the better match for them, and he did say he was in love with this other woman at one time for the year they dated, planned life, 30+ yrs ago) I can’t know, or be sure, especially with that stated info. I get more questions and confusion than answers, crippling and complicating my grief. I may be over thinking that part because of the horrendous attacks I’ve endured from the day he passed – and continue to this very day. People are coming out of the woodwork with crazy actions against me that distract me from grieving and seeing him in my heart. I’ve put up walls to protect myself from them, logistically, technologically, and emotionally.

    I do know the evil forces and intentions that come against me (and both of us when we were here together) through others, must know very well the impact and magnitude of a man/woman union, or they wouldn’t find it so attractive to attack in ways that would blow away the average, unobservant person.

    Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Lee says:

      Hi silverpen123,

      Thank you for stopping by, and for your long, thoughtful, and heartfelt comment. I am very sorry to hear about the death of your husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you face your grief in his absence from your physical and day-by-day life here on earth.

      I am glad that the articles here have given you at least some specific, concrete answers to your deep questions. These are very difficult issues, and quite frankly, there are very few people out there, including priests, pastors, and theologians, who can give solid answers, because they simply don’t have the information on which such answers would be based. Beyond that, many of our deepest and most searching questions can be answered only over time, through experience and pondering and discovering how events unfold in the long term.

      I would say that your situation is a mixture of both immediately answerable questions (if one has the required information) and questions that can be answered only with the passage of time and experience.

      About the immediately answerable questions, I have not yet written and posted here an article specifically about the loss of a spouse and what it means for our life, as I have for the loss of our parents and the loss of our children. That lack is something I will have to rectify at some point.

      Meanwhile, I do take up the issue of marriage in the afterlife briefly in the article, “How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?” Though that article doesn’t specifically deal with partners separated by death, you might want to read this comment on that article, and my reply.

      You say, “What I do know is this: my emotions are merely a gauge to my thinking.” And one thing that strikes me in your comment is that a real part of your grief is doubt as to whether you and your husband will be together in the afterlife, expressed as a fear that your husband might reconnect with his old girlfriend from 30+ years ago. This, unfortunately, is one of those questions that can be answered only with the passage of time.

      You already alluded to the answerable part of that question when you said, “According to what I’ve read, people on the other side test to see who’s the better match for them.” On that subject I do have an article here, which I invite you to read if you haven’t already: “If You’ve been Married More than Once, Which One will you be With in the Afterlife?” What that article can’t answer, of course, is the very personal question of whether you and your beloved husband will be together in the afterlife. That can only be answered with unfolding events over time.

      Not too put too fine a point on it, but I’m sure you are already well aware that it is common in marriages for one partner to feel more in love than the other does. And while there certainly are marriages in which the husband is more in love with the wife than vice versa, it is probably more common for the wife to feel that her husband is the only one she loves or could ever love, while the husband, even though he does love his wife, feels that he could love another if his wife were to leave or die.

      I don’t say this to make you feel worse. Based on your expressed thoughts and feelings, these thoughts are already running through your mind. I say this to acknowledge that your fears and doubts are not frivolous, but are real, searching issues for which there are no quick and easy answers for those who face them. These are fears and doubts that you must face and deal with in your own mind and heart as the days, weeks, months, and years go by. Since I’m not in your shoes, nor do I know your late husband or the circle of people in which you move, these are not the sorts of questions that I, or anyone else, really, can give you definite answers to. You will have to seek and discover those answers for yourself over time.

      What I can offer you is some framework of information about the nature of the afterlife and the nature of marriage love that can help you to see things in a clearer light as you seek those deeper answers that come only with time. And of course, if you have already delved into Swedenborg’s books, you have already found the “horse’s mouth,” so to speak, for much of the information I present here on Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

      I could go on, but first I’ll give you a chance to read the linked articles and comments if you wish. Then, if you have further specific questions that might be answerable, I invite and encourage you to leave further comments here.

      Meanwhile, I will offer you these thoughts:

      The events and experiences of our life here on earth are not a mere game. They are very real, and they do commonly try and test us to the limits of our ability to endure, and sometimes even beyond those limits. This life has its pleasures and joys, to be sure. But it also has its pain and anguish that sifts our souls right to the core. It is in facing this pain and anguish that the core of our humanity is unearthed. And in those times of deep spiritual trial and grief, the person we will become is forged in the molten crucible of inner trials and spiritual temptations, and our responses to those terrible trials.

      It is never pleasant for us to experience this deep melting and testing of the soul. And yet, it is out of these sometimes horrifically painful and shattering experiences and passages of life that we emerge as people capable of deeper empathy, faith, and compassion for our fellow human beings, and also gain a real awareness and appreciation of God’s tender loving kindness carrying us through it all even when it feels to us as if God is completely absent.

  8. Richard Neer says:

    Well said, Lee.

    I speak from my own experience when I say it truly is a process by which we are tested. The results of our labored efforts certainly do shape, and reshape, us through the trials along our the arduous journey of self-discovery, re-evaluation and redefinition as we are remolded and tempered by the fiery kiln of Life.

    And I consider myself to yet still be a “work in progress”.

    My dearest sympathies to you, silverpen123. I, unfortunately, know all too well the grief you experience and the cloudiness you find in seeking answers and truths to satisfy the burning questions which haunt your days and nights. Try to find solace in that you truly are not alone in your journey and that others, though uniquely apart from you, share the same road.

    Existence is defined as a state of being, qualified by adaptation, perseverance and continuance.

    Living, however, requires ambition, tenacity and fortitude to fuel achievement, desire and longing to stoke the heart into openness and vulnerability, and love to wrap it all neatly in an embraceable package.

    Never stop living.

    Richard

    • silverpen123 says:

      Thank you, Richard. Kind, encouraging words. I assume you have lost your loved one too, by what I read. I’m sorry. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ve been trying to reach out to other women in the same position as me – to relate, get support. Only those who have experience the passing of a dearly loved spouse seem to be the ones who I can share freely with. But I’m also gathering that this path is a lot lonelier than I ever foresaw.

      It is a hard road. Many times I wish to be with my guy. I feel left out, and as others would probably say, cheated on a life with him. I don’t understand a life without sharing with him. I’d like to ask why, but it feels pretty futile. The answer wouldn’t make much of a difference. Just walk the path that is presented before me. One foot in front of the other, one moment at a time.

      My only solace is through Swedenborg’s writings to guide me, prayer, and listening to the Lord. I fear all the changes ahead of me. Every aspect of my life has changed, and the thought of tackling even the smallest of them overwhelms me. Gosh, I never felt so retarded in all my life!

      Lee, thank you for your words, translations of Swedenborg and your support. I’m so glad I came upon your website.

      Laurie

      • Lee says:

        Hi Laurie,

        You are most welcome. I’m glad to be of some help, even if I cannot walk your currently very painful walk for you. Feel free to continue the conversation if you have any particular questions, or simply want to express more of what you are facing, thinking, and feeling, and have others with a sympathetic ear hear you. If you were able to find some local circle of people who have lost dearly beloved spouses, that could also be a great source of solace. Still, every person’s walk is different.

      • Richard Neer says:

        Hi Laurie,

        You are certainly welcome. Stay the course and stay strong,

        Richard

  9. silverpen123 says:

    Lee, I meant to say in my last post that I thanked Richard for his questions, instead I referred to him as Lee. I saw so many Lee said, Richard said’s that I got confused.

    I have read those links you mentioned, in the past month. Thank you for addressing my questions. I am forced to remind myself of the deeper, more unique aspects of our love, as you reminded me to do. I’m going to get a bit personal here.

    I think my fear and doubt stems from the problems we endured early on, as well, his family staked a claim against me as his wife upon his death, asking for legal documents and all his material items saying I didn’t know him as long as they did, even though they had little to do with him except when they needed something. And he kept his distance, politely. But the attacks upon me became so horrific, while they made it public stating I was something of a passing girlfriend who was holding his ashes and material items hostage to hurt them. Of course that’s a complete lie to intimidate me. But I’ve been on the other end of unjust hate before, knowing how far people can take things to destroy others. It’s not something I have the strength to endure right now nor resources to fight back. I stay quiet on the attacks from them.

    My husband picked me 13 years ago, and we started out as pen pals. A friend posed as me on a military board to get me to help others and get some social interaction, as I was knee deep in homeschooling my children. I didn’t know until he contacted me. We became friends over the course of a year. He pursued me with respect for my feelings and situation (in a bad marriage, still raising children). At one point, 3 years into the friendship, we touched (being long distance, we rarely saw each other in person) and both felt a warm electricity for the other that startled us both, neither of us ever having this feeling before with anyone. Within a short time we both “knew” that we loved each other. We loved being together, but not without some rocky personal issues we each had to work out individually to grow. During our 1st year together, year #4 of knowing each other (long distance, but traveling to see the other, eventually moving in together by year #5), he told me I was going to be his next wife, causing me a bit of a startle, feeling it was too soon to say things like that. During the later part of that year, I had a vision dream, as I do get those from time to time. I was being shown things about my life by a spirit messenger. I was directed to see a picture of me and my boyfriend (now deceased husband) in a photo dressed in all white wedding clothing. I refused to look at it, saying that’s the last thing on my mind, but was adamantly urged to look closely and remember the photo whether I wanted to accept it or not. I never understood why because we didn’t get married until just a few months ago. Our love, no matter what happened in this world, stayed true to the other, even when things looked confusing and very questionable. I believe it was God’s love between us, inseparable by others. (So why do I doubt?)

    I recalled this dream only a week after he passed in the midst of all his family’s attacks. Then I went down a private road inside remembering the things he’s said and did for me, how he felt (love) but couldn’t find words for because of it’s strength. The word “love” did not encompass what he felt so he would say that he knows what he feels right here, pointing to his heart – even when I was preparing myself mentally for an ending between us during some rough moments. I loved him so much that I could only see to act upon my heart to see him happy, at peace, and helping him get healthy – mentally/physically. I wonder if that isn’t why I was strongly urged to remember that photo in the dream? To assure me. Even having a recent dream where my husband was showing me how easy it was to cross the chasm, that he would show me how, and then a written sign saying: Soul Assurance. Human nature and situations can bring doubts, as I can attest to even though I am ever looking for solutions and remaining strong through evidence, reason, sanity and love.

    I was reading Swedenborg, only new to his writings since my husband’s passing although heard of him many years ago, regarding evil spirits. When he spoke of how evil spirits like to come against a man/woman union, I remembered how my husband and I used to talk about how often outsiders came against us, trying to wreck havoc at us and between us, and being totally baffled by why us, why so much, why not other couplings before us in such an overt obvious manner? Since the day of his passing, the attacks from others are nearly daily. I often say to my husband in my mind, are you seeing this? If I told anyone the extent of the attacks, they’d think I was making up stories. These things have shook me to my core, adding to my anxiety, and forcing me to remember lots of things between us to keep my head on straight. Despite what people assume about grieving people, I have been trying to keep to myself, keep my head, acknowledge my feelings, and keeping love and kindness as my focus towards others. It’s so hard to deal with uninvited attacks. He’s not here to talk to about this stuff. I don’t know how he is dealing with anything on his end. I do know that I have had some pretty amazing “signs” from him, things only he and I knew between us. But again, I’m still shook to my core with attacks against me, and doubts do pop up. But isn’t that what happens to separate us? I think that’s where I’m going with all this.

    I want to thank you for reminding me that this is a unique situation to us, and specific answers can’t be given by outsiders. I have to dig inside for evidence and allow God to reveal the answers to me in time, as has been the case so far. It’s the Faith in God that I’ve gained by reading Swedenborg through understanding God’s love for all of us, the nature of how things operate, and the deeper meanings of the Word which has guided me since my husband’s passing.

    Maybe by sharing openly, I can help others who may be going through their own issues and doubts, to look deeper and remember things. To hold onto what you feel and know because if you keep Love and Truth as your focus, you won’t be disappointed, left behind, alone, forgotten. It’s easy to think that on a planet that has been lost due to our situation of choices between heaven and hell, where hell seems to be running rampant.

    • Lee says:

      Hi silverpen123,

      Sounds like a very complicated situation. And it also sounds like you’re doing fairly well dealing with it, as messy and painful as it is.

      Thanks for clearing up the “Richard” vs. “Lee” thing. Now I know why I was having a little trouble wrapping my head around that! 😉

    • Lee says:

      Oh, and I hope you noticed Richard’s comment just above your last one. You two were probably typing at the same time!

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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