My neighbor Robert, told me a thought provoking story. True story.
The front-story: Robert took care of his step-mother the last few years of her life.
Robert told me, “She was afraid to die. Finally, one day, she asked me, ‘Do you think I’ll go to heaven?’ I told her, ‘If you don’t go to heaven no one else will.’ And she died peacefully a few weeks later.”
Now, Robert didn’t end the story there. He also gave the backstory saying, “My step-mother was a bitter person. She made my growing up hard and miserable. In my 20s, I went from one terrible relationship to another until in my 30s when I stopped what I was doing, even became celibate for a few years, to figure out a better way.”
He figured it out. “Love. Love is life and truth,” said Robert, who has been in a loving relationship for more than 20 years.
See, the backstory is necessary to understand the front story. Otherwise, we’d be tempted to believe we could just repeat Robert’s words and offer peace to someone afraid to die.
The step-mother’s fear came from religious teachings, showing yet again that religion isn’t perfect, but nothing in this world is. She was taught her behavior in this world affected whether or not she’d go to heaven.
Not all religions teach that strategy. Mine doesn’t. I believe heaven is a state of mind, of divine Mind, Love, God, and I can unite and rejoice with God now.
I also believe it was Robert’s earlier spiritual progress that transformed his heart and enabled him to voice those words to his mother with a healing effect.
“Put an end to the chatter in your head and calmly enter spiritual consciousness. In the refuge of sincere intentions, you must deny sin and affirm God’s allness. Become committed, “pray continually,” and go forward with a pure heart to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. Such prayer is answered insofar as you put your spiritual desires into practice.”
 I Thess. 5:17