Humankind has changed for the better. At least that’s what we think, right? During the last hundred years, humans have given an extreme leap in technology, transportation, communication, science but have lost touch with its spirituality, its core essence, its reason for existence. You and I are both guilty of this. We always say that we believe in Jesus, or the Bible, or God and his Holy Ghost but… Do we really?
Yesterday I watched a movie called Heaven is For Real. Just the title alone sounds preachy and religious but I decided to give it a try. It stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly as the Burpos. They are the epiphany of a perfect marriage: Todd Burpo (Kinnear) is a firefighter, has a business delivering and installing carpet, he’s the local coach, a pastor of his Christian church, a model husband AND a perfect father to Cassie and four year old Colton (Connor Corum). He’s also a very handsome man, a charismatic leader of his community in Nebraska and someone who everyone looks up to. A man of faith, conviction and moral values. A little bit too perfect, if you ask me…
We see a glimpse of the Burpos’ financial struggle and what they need to do in order to survive. Todd is very optimistic and positive. Sonja is more realistic and has her feet on the ground. She wants to help her husband every way she can as a housewife and a homemaker but realizes that her husband wants to carry the weight of the world over his shoulders and doesn’t want her to work, he thinks he can manage on his own.
Colton is the sweetest boy you’d ever meet: big blue eyes, golden blond hair and a smile that would melt your heart. He loves his parents, his big sister and he’s such a lovable kid that my paternal instinct started kicking in. As the story goes, the kids get sick after a road trip that they made to Colorado Springs. Everybody makes it out OK except for Colton whose health deteriorates to the point when his fever is above normal and doesn’t seem to get better.
While he’s on the emergency room and his parents are left in the waiting room, his father retreats to a chapel in the hospital while his wife calls her church friends and asks them to pray for her son’s well-being. I don’t know why but upon seeing the actors praying, the families, the teachers and students, the firefighters, the whole community gathering to pray was very touching. I pictured myself praying for Colton’s health, holding hands with strangers and praying that this four year old angel would make it out alive. Luckily, our prayers are answered and Colton makes it out just fine after he had an emergency surgery on his appendix.
Everything goes back to normal. Todd begins working and preaching on Sundays. Colton’s health is seen as a miracle of prayer and the whole community feels responsible to this miracle recovery. The only difference now is that Colton claims that he was in Heaven and that he saw angels and Jesus himself. His father dismisses this as something a four year old would say just to make his pastor father happy. That’s until he begins revealing how he knows certain things about his parents that he could possibly not know about: the fact that Todd was praying, quite angrily I might add, for his son’s health while his mother waited in the waiting room of the hospital and made phone calls to have churchgoers pray for his health.
Later other facts are revealed that confirm that Colton is not making this up, he describes people and events that took place long time before he was born, the fact that he spoke to his deceased grandfather and unborn sister. Up until then Colton had me believe that he was telling the truth and nothing but the truth. That’s until he mentioned Jesus coming down to him in a white rope from behind the white clouds. I just have a problem believing that. And trust me the whole community has a hard time believing this as well, including his parents. What is a man of faith left to believe when his own son claims that he’s seen Jesus. I guess it’s sort of having crazy people talk about Napoleon. It’s crazy talk, right?
Well, it turns out that there is a whole movement of children that have had similar visions with the man himself and have claimed to have witnessed he man in the rope himself, holding their hands and speaking softly to them. As I remember correctly, Jesus was a big fan of children and says “Let the children come to me” so it makes perfect sense that he talks to them. Besides their hearts and minds are more open to the extraordinary than adults so I can see why he picked Colton. The more tormented one here is Todd who doesn’t know how to quite handle the situation and gets fire from his wife, his friends, the church committee and practically everyone. As if seeing Heaven and Jesus is such a crime.
Kind of ironic how church people can be so blinded by their egos that they cannot accept that miracles do happen everyday, that God works in mysterious ways and shows His face unexpectedly to those that are willing to open their eyes and see. Frankly, I have my doubts about the whole thing: why couldn’t Colton have seen Buddha, or Mohammed instead of Jesus? What was his message? Jesus owns a technicolor unicorn in heaven? Isn’t that a little bit of a stretch? And then I realize: wait a minute! Didn’t I believe in Jesus at some point in my life? Didn’t I believe in the power of prayer? Didn’t I know that there is a spirit inside our shells? All we are is shells, vessels and our spirits live on.
Besides I strongly believe that our lives are abstract and that our spirits can travel freely out of our body without having died physically. The spirit knows no notion of time and space, it can spend an eternity in a few seconds and that’s why Colton, without leaving his body, experiences all these different things while he’s apparently sleeping. If someone works hard at it and meditate, it’s quite possible to leave your body temporarily and roam to a different time and space without actually dying.
In conclusion, Heaven is for Real has a beautiful message that we should stop and smell the flowers once in a while and stop living life with blinders around our eyes, blocking out the side view and missing many chances of seeing how blessed we are, how beautiful life is, how everybody and everything is full of love, we are all connected by an invisible field of energy, field of light that can only be felt when we become spiritual, when we know ourselves and how our souls inhabit these vessels temporarily until we have no use for the vessels and we must move on. The planet is full of cosmic, positive energy that we can call upon ourselves. It’s our birthright. Heaven on Earth is attainable and very real.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor