Heaven. Have you ever wondered what it would be like--aside from streets of gold and “no more crying and no more tears? In this blog, Hope Haven's Religious Services Department invites you to consider what Heaven - and Earth - is like for people of all abilities.
David Morstad, in his book “Whole Community” challenges one’s thinking about people with disabilities and heaven. Morstad mused, “Is heaven a place where people who do not speak, will be able to do so? Or, is it a place where my own ability to understand will be perfected? Is heaven a place where people will no longer use wheelchairs? Or, is it a place where barriers no longer exist? Who among us will be healed?”
A bit later, he quotes writer Ben Mattlin, “My lifelong experience with disability has made me a creative problem-solver, and ironically, perhaps a diehard optimist, if only because I’ve had to be. It’s taught me a great deal about patience, tolerance and flexibility. My disability is part of who I am. Are there no wheelchairs in heaven? I’m not buying it. For me, it’s not a place where I’ll be able to walk, it’s a place where it doesn’t matter if you can’t.”
Typically abled people tend to view the world through the lens of someone who is “able.” On this side of heaven, it is impossible to know for sure what it would be like for anyone. But perhaps a more relevant point is the attitude that non-disabled people of faith, bring into relationships now. And rather than a prayer for healing and restoration for others, a better direction for prayers might be for wisdom to learn from those who have so much to teach, and what can be done right now to make life for others here on earth a little more like heaven?
Morstad concludes, “Most people with disabilities do not seek healing for the affliction we perceive them to have as much as they seek a wholeness in the world to which they could more freely belong.”