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Starry, Starry Night: Faith Leads to Heaven

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Old 04 Oct 14, 16:11   #1 (permalink)
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Post Starry, Starry Night: Faith Leads to Heaven

In childhood, we knew little about what the word faith meant when we looked up to the sky and repeated, Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. As adults when we think of Heaven we automatically lift our eyes to the sky, hoping the ones we love and lost to death are peaceful and happy up there. We naturally want to be reunited with them someday.

My religion, like many others, preaches the belief there is a better place we go to after death. Weve all heard the Der Hayrs (clergy) repeatedly say, The deceased has gone to a better place. It is primarily meant to give solace to the mourners left behind. Many still have doubt that a better place exists.

In my persistence of the question about the existence of Heaven, Ive pursued this issue with several Christian clergymen. They are all firm believers in Heaven, but that is the business of religion, isnt it? To give humans something to shoot for by behaving properly and leading a life full of goodness, even offering Grace if you confess your sins.

The mantra is if you are a true believer, you will confess your transgressions to receive forgiveness and pass through the Pearly Gates, where you will reside eternally in Gods Holy Kingdom. That is a simplistic explanation. Its interesting some folks get wealthy by questionable means, then suddenly become patrons of their church trying to buy their way into Heaven (and they are welcomed because the business of running a church is costly). Come on in, brother, and bring your fat check book too. Unsavory but realistic.

The good men of the cloth also said there is no sex in Heaven, that we all just love each other like brothers and sisters. They deemed me a hopeless case when I asked, Then why do they call it Heaven?

I remain doubtful of Heavens existence, and that perplexes me because I really want to believe. I feel deeply about the significance of Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and Christs resurrection, but something is lacking. I dont want to be a believer just because God is to be feared. I want to be a believer because He is a God of compassion.

When you are of Armenian heritage, you do wonder how and why He allowed 1,500,000 of our innocent countrymen to be ruthlessly slaughtered needlessly while the perpetrators still go unpunished and successfully remain in denial. One hundred years later, the same kind of poison is running rampant throughout the Middle East because the genocide of the Armenians was essentially regarded as irrelevant. Wasnt it startling when all of a sudden the word genocide was repeated on television on the news networks in connection with ISIS killings and beheadings?

As a young child, I traveled with my family the 30 miles from our home to the getron in Detroit, known as the Armenian Community Center. I remember someone pinning a lavender ribbon on each worshipper entering the church. Written on the ribbon in Armenian were the words, Hesous Haryav Ee merelotz (Christ has Risen from his death). I wondered to myself, Risen to where? And my mothers reply is still a mystery:Asdvadz ver elav (Christ has risen to Heaven). I needed more logic; I was left wondering, how does that happen?

The collection plate was passed around several times to benefit various Armenian organizations. My seamstresss husband is a minister and she frequently offers me Christian literature confirming Heaven. I admire their being so faithful, even under some very dire personal circumstances theyve endured. They have true faith and that is the secret of believing in Heaven: faith.

A special grave marker is inscribed with, You no longer need be afraid… Believe.

Sometime a hole remains in ones heart, but there is a wonderful place where bright city lights are rare. Northern Michigans skies offer a blue-black backdrop for millions of stars where the Milky Way and Big Dipper are easily seen nightly.

I gaze in childlike amazement at that sky filled with so many sparkling heavenly bodies. It is only now that I see them as more than just stars. Now they represent all my loved ones who have passed onparents, lost loves, our martyrs, friends, all are up there giving me solace, comfort, and hope. With an ever-expanding universe, there is room up there for us all. What a wonderful feeling to know loved ones are looking down upon us!

My special star convinces me I am not alone. Its love strengthens me to carry on offering companionship until one day I, too, find my place next to it.

I no longer fear death as much. Ive had more than my share of mountains to climb and battles to win.

Ive had enough kebab, danced many a village bar. Ive had the pleasure of driving with the car top down, loving grandchildren. Ive had enough decadent brownies, dug my toes into the ocean sands, picked plenty of grape leaves for sarma. I still marvel at the beauty of sea shells, and the fragrance of a gardenia. I havent had or done it all, but I fear the afterlife less.

Ill get to be with my parents, brother Abe, and the grandparents I never got to know because of the genocide.

Ill be reunited with my mentor James Tashjian who heroically edited the Armenian Weekly for decades.

Ill dance with Fred Astaire, Ill sit next to Chopin, Gershwin, and Paderewski for piano lessons. Tarzan will teach me how to swim. John Wayne, my favorite actor and cowboy, will teach me how to ride a horse. And Degeen Elsig Hairabedian will help me make roejik.

How did the miracle occur that Christ rose from the dead to Heaven? Faith! Believe! You no longer need be afraid. God is your last line of defense.

The post Starry, Starry Night: Faith Leads to Heaven appeared first on Armenian Weekly.


In childhood, we knew little about what the word faith meant when we looked up to the sky and repeated, Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. As adults when we think of Heaven we automatically lift our eyes to the sky, hoping the ones we love and lost to death are peaceful and happy up there. We naturally want to be reunited with them someday. My religion, like many others, preaches the belief there is a better place we go to after death. Weve all heard the Der Hayrs (clergy) repeatedly say, The deceased has gone to a better place. It is primarily meant to give solace to the mourners left behind. Many still have doubt that a better place exists. In my persistence of the question about the existence of Heaven, Ive pursued this issue with several Christian clergymen. They are all firm believers in Heaven, but that is the business of religion, isnt it? To give humans something to shoot for by behaving properly and leading a life full of goodness, even offering Grace if you confess your sins. The mantra is if you are a true believer, you will confess your transgressions to [...]

The post Starry, Starry Night: Faith Leads to Heaven appeared first on Armenian Weekly.


In childhood, we knew little about what the word faith meant when we looked up to the sky and repeated, Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. As adults when we think of Heaven we automatically lift our eyes to the sky, hoping the ones we love and lost to death are peaceful and happy up there. We naturally want to be reunited with them someday. My religion, like many others, preaches the belief there is a better place we go to after death. Weve all heard the Der Hayrs (clergy) repeatedly say, The deceased has gone to a better place. It is primarily meant to give solace to the mourners left behind. Many still have doubt that a better place exists. In my persistence of the question about the existence of Heaven, Ive pursued this issue with several Christian clergymen. They are all firm believers in Heaven, but that is the business of religion, isnt it? To give humans something to shoot for by behaving properly and leading a life full of goodness, even offering Grace if you confess your sins. The mantra is if you are a true believer, you will confess your transgressions to [...]

The post Starry, Starry Night: Faith Leads to Heaven appeared first on Armenian Weekly.


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