10 March 2013

A Compassion Tune-Up: Tell Me There's a Heaven

I've long believed that heaven was invented by grieving parents who had lost a child. It makes total sense to me that if you lost a loved one, you'd want to picture them "living" somewhere beautiful. I would never criticize or belittle anyone who came to a belief in heaven for that reason. 

But in reality, Earth is our heaven. Our paradise. Our Elysian Fields. Our hereafter. (*Here*after. There is no giant compost pile in the sky. It is here on Earth that we decompose and return to the earth.) We would need no other heaven if we treated this Earth as our future home — as our only home.

The sad irony of ironies for me is that, while most people see "heaven" as a future thing and hang their hat on the hope that it's real, they could be putting their hope to work creating heaven on Earth.

We want to believe in heaven but, for some reason, we're not willing to fight for it. We would rather hope that it exists than work to ensure its existence.

Ah, there's so much pain in the world. This graphic music video (by Kozabashia) hurts, while Chris Rea tries to make sense of all the pain with his heartrending lyrics and powerful voice. But that's just the pain in our world before we add in the ravages of the climate change emergency. With climate chaos impacting millions of people and killing about 350,000 every year, that's a lot of broken-hearted loved ones hoping there's a heaven. One commenter wrote: "There is a heaven ... always has been. It's within each of us ... called compassion."

Enjoy, if that's the right word (perhaps "feel deeply" would be more appropriate) this compassion tune-up. Lyrics are below.


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Tell Me There's a Heaven

The little girl, she said to me
What are these things that I can see
Each night when I come home from school
When mama calls me in for tea

Oh, every night a baby dies
And every night a mama cries
What makes those men do what they do
To make that person black and blue

Grandpa says they're happy now
They sit with God in paradise
With angels' wings and still somehow
It makes me feel like ice

Tell me there's a heaven
Tell me that it's true
Tell me there's a reason
Why I'm seein' what I do

Tell me there's a heaven
Where all those people go
Tell me they're all happy now
Papa, tell me that it's so

So, do I tell her that it's true
That there's a place for me and you
Where hungry children smile and say
We wouldn't have no other way

That every painful crack of bones
Is a step along the way
Every wrong done is a game plan
To that great and joyful day

And I'm looking

At the father and the son
And I'm looking

At the mother and the daughter

And I'm watching them in tears of pain
And I'm watching them suffer
Don't tell that little girl
Tell me


Tell me there's a heaven
Tell me that it's true
Tell me there's a reason
Why I'm seein' what I do

Tell me there's a heaven
Where all those people go
Tell me they're all happy now
Papa, tell me that it's so


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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on compassion as a solution to the climate change emergency?