I’ve been musing on the idea of heaven
and wondering what I’d like in the hereafter.
What would be your ideal version of heaven?
In J Edward Neill’s book 101 Questions for Humanity he asks: Set aside your existing belief system. Describe the afterlife as the way you want it to be.
And this is what I’m asking. If you had no current beliefs, and an afterlife was a valid possibility, how would you choose to live your forever?
In Beneath the Rainbow Freya is still a child when she passes over and finds herself in heaven. Very quickly she’s told that her heaven can be whatever she wants it to be. She’s in a place of limbo, somewhere to come to terms with the fact of death and take a figurative breath.
In this excerpt Freya finds out what she can do:
“These flowers, this garden, they’re all yours.”
“Can’t you see the flowers aren’t normal? They’re all flowering together even though they shouldn’t be.”
She hadn’t noticed, but now she did. She remembered Mum’s grief when the bluebells finished and recalled how Mum always said it was sad when one season finished, but the next always brought another swathe of beauty with its own flowers. Mum loved every season, even the crunchy carpet of leaves in the autumn and winter’s snowdrops had her enthusing all over again.
Now Freya gazed across the clusters of flowers and understood, not only were the plants out of season, but each held a meaning for her.
Primroses, tiny lemon-yellow ones pushed up through the grass as she recalled how both she and her mum preferred plants that were natural and old-fashioned. As she watched primroses surface, their tough, wrinkled leaves unfurling and thin stalks revealing buds that quickly opened, her smile deepened. She raised her hands and grinned. “Watch this!” she commanded.
She swung her hands upwards like a conductor before his orchestra and loosed her mind. Bright orange geums burst forth, intermingled with bronze irises, more irises appeared, rising up through sword-like clumps of silver leaves, their buds unfurling to reveal huge silken flowers in an array of colours. Amongst these were black tulips, pink tulips and white tulips. Daisies the colour of butter cream, paeonies seemingly made of bowls of crinkled petals, gossamer-haired pulsatillas, pink, shaggy dianthus, the palest yellow daffodils, more roses and plum-coloured poppies.
Columbine and clematis climbed up into the trees and sweet peas twisted around trunks.
Foxgloves, verbena and sky-blue delphiniums grew tall, whilst snowdrops, cyclamen and delicate violas carpeted the woodland floor.
Jake kept his trademark grin as he sidestepped a patch of fuchsias, and avoided decapitation from a whippy willow branch, could you still get decapitated if you were already dead?
And Freya hadn’t finished adding sweet-smelling philadelphus, a wine-coloured magnolia and a Christmas tree.
“Any more?” asked Jake.
She folded her arms across her chest surveying her work. “Nope, I think that’s it…for now.” She nodded with a broad, satisfied smile that matched Jake’s and appraised her heaven. She nodded again. “It’s good.”
Freya’s heaven is made up of memories of flowers that she connects with her mother and happiness. She creates meadows and gardens of flowers, and oh, how I can relate!
Excerpt from Beneath the Rainbow © Lisa Shambrook
When I’ve given my book presentation to groups of readers, I’ve often asked this question; What would your heaven be?
The answers have been many and varied:
“Somewhere with my horses and cats; eternal sleep; a tropical beach with lemonade fountain, pears and chips; anywhere my pets are; music studio; somewhere with all my friends and family; a cottage from the 1600’s with a kitchen with an art studio and my family, a pool and a theatre; a bookstore with a farmer’s market and a log cabin; a field of sunflowers and poppies and a never-ending day with my family and pets and fireworks; a garden with my family and friends and dogs and lots of water; two scantily clad men in a mineral water hot tub with coffee; my family, friends and all pets past and present, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, sea, hills, mountains and valleys.”
Another heaven in Beneath the Rainbow is Alice’s and she conjures castles and clouds… so, what would you choose?
Excerpt from Beneath the Rainbow © Lisa Shambrook
I like to think that I’ll have a say in my heaven. Life is tough and my own upbringing has prepared me for an afterlife, but there are so many versions amongst many who believe. Some believe it will be full of duty and continuation of spiritual learning and work, others believe it will be a time to relax and enjoy reward. Some believe in an old fashioned heaven of angels and clouds, some in a life similar to earth with progression and growth. Many believe other ideas such as reincarnation, or becoming one with the earth’s life stream, or that this life is it, but just imagine you could choose…
© Lisa Shambrook
If life after death requires yet more conforming and duty, then right now I can do without it! I’m looking to escape into the hereafter with romance and nature and endless mountains and waterfalls… I plan Scottish mountains and lochs, Welsh valleys and autumn weather. Time and access with those I love and time to be creative, whether that’s spiritual, emotional, or even some kind of physical.
Oh, and I want dragons… There have to be dragons…
I don’t want what happens after death to be linear, I’m happy with time differences, travel, movement, and much more. I want to discover my full potential, something I doubt will happen in life.
Autumn Dragons © Lisa Shambrook
So, if you had a choice and weren’t limited to your belief system,
what would you choose?
How would you choose to live your forever?
Freya won’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams – not even her death.
Now her family will need to uncover the clues to her secrets before it’s too late.
Beneath the Rainbow is published by BHC Press and is a novel that will completely enchant you.
“I highly recommend reading this touching and moving story of acceptance and unending love.” —LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Beneath the Rainbow is now available in eBook and paperback (choose your format) at:
Amazon UK, Amazon US, and your local Amazon. Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, and other online outlets.