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Heaven - What Will My House Be Like? · 27 September 2000

I had a dream the other night. I had died and I was standing at the pearly gates with Saint Peter. He looked up my name in the book of life and said that my reservation had been confirmed. He said that the Lord would take me to my eternal home. I thanked him and took a seat just inside the gate to await the Lord. I looked around and decided that heaven was not that different from earth.


The pearly gates were like the gates that I have seen in front of many communities. There was a street leading into the “development” that was lined with fine houses for as far as the eye could see. The “Main Street” had many side streets off of it that I assumed would have as many beautiful homes on them. As far as I could see in every direction were mansions the like I had never seen on the earth. I felt rather guilty that I would be living in one of these places since I had never really done much for God once I accepted His Son. I felt ashamed and wanted to hide but there was nowhere to go.


When I was feeling at my lowest, Jesus came to greet me. He took my hand and led me up the street. I was in awe at all of the homes that we saw along the way. I knew without asking that He had built each and every one of these places with His own hands. I knew what great love He put into every detail of every home. Jesus had said that He would prepare a place for us and He made a very special place for each and every person. Realizing this, I felt even more ashamed for my laziness on earth.


We turned down a side street with magnificent houses on either side. They could really only be described as mansions. I could not feel anything but awe as we walked down the lane my head turning from side to side admiring other people’s final resting places. And then the Master stopped. We stood in front of an almost vacant lot. There was a foundation for a home that would make many of the ones that I had seen along the way seem only great instead of awesome. But there was no house. There was only what could be described as a tool shed in front of that great foundation and piles and piles of rotten wood and broken masonry.


The Lord turned to me and said, “This is your home. I am sure that you will be happy here.” And then He turned as if to go.


I couldn’t manage to get any sound out of my mouth but the Lord must have felt my pleading eyes on his back because He turned around and explained, “I didn’t have time to finish the work. I had more important things to do than build your home. As you can see, I had plenty of materials to build it. I even had the tools in that shed over there but I had to use them for more important projects. Also, I figured that Peter or James could do the work but they had other things to do and besides, they are fishermen. I guess that I just believed that somebody else could build the house even though I was the one who designed it and had the ability to complete the job. By the time I had realized that the work was not completed and thought about doing something, the wood had rotted and the masonry had turned to rubble and you were already on your way here. So the work never got done. I hope you understand.”


When the Lord turned and walked away, I awoke sobbing. I realized that I was the one who had forgotten to do the work. I was the one who was letting others do what God had called me to do. I was the one who was shirking my responsibilities. The dream was a warning that the house I was designing for myself in heaven was different than the one Jesus wanted for me. I was designing a shack and He was designing a mansion. He had given me the raw materials to build my life on earth in a way that He would like but I was just letting them rot away with disuse. I was the one who was deciding to live in a shack in heaven. I was the one who was not really living on earth. And I was the one who could decide to change or not. I had the choice. It was up to me.

© 2000 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Musings of a Mediocre Man published September 2000.

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Death · 22 September 2000

I cringe when people try to do everything for their aging parents. Especially when they are still active. It is like their roles are the opposite of when the kids were children. “No Mom, you can’t do that.” “Let me help you.” “You’re too old to be working so hard.” But I can’t tell them not to do it. I guess it is a natural reaction. We all want to take care of our parents because they took such good care of us. We are just trying to return the favor. But I can tell my kids that I don’t want them to do that to me. And the reason why is because it has been my observation that people only die of natural causes for one of three reasons — their bodies give out, their hearts break, or they don’t feel that they are needed anymore.


I’ll be glad to go when my body gives out or wears out. If I’ve been active, that means that I’ve put too many miles on the old frame and the warranty has expired. But that’s okay because I will have lived life fully. If I haven’t been active, I guess that I will have chosen to die. Just like the car that refuses to start after it’s been sitting for years or has been poorly maintained, I will have lost my body through disuse and misuse. But whether through disuse, misuse, or just plain use, the body will eventually give out. I hope that I go by wearing out my body.


Old people who go through some heartbreaking loss like losing a spouse of 50 years seem to go quickly if the deceased was one of their main reasons for living. I could see myself going that way if I do not have loving kids and grandkids. But those relationships will keep me going even after my future wife dies because the bonds of love and devotion will still remain between myself and my children. But that isn’t always the case. And sometimes even when it is, the loss is so great that they feel that they can’t go on anymore. They die of broken hearts. They die of broken hearts.


But more tragic still is the death of those who just don’t feel needed anymore. They have been there for others, especially their kids, but now nobody wants them to do anything for themselves. The stubborn ones who live long are those who won’t give in and even say, “I can do it myself! I’m not dead yet!” But some less stern just give in and let their kids do everything for them even if they can do it for themselves. My kids won’t do that to me or I’ll just leave. But I guess that others don’t have that choice. I just wish that they would stand up and say that they are still useful and have more to contribute. Even if it is just an oral history of the family or tall tales of big fish and swift running waters. These are stories that I wish my Grandpa was still around to tell and that I hope my Grandma lives a long time to continue to tell. And when I finally get married, have kids, get older and have grandkids, I hope that they will want to hear my stories of our family, big fish, and swift river waters.

© 2000 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Musings of a Mediocre Man published September 2000.

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The Ex-Couch Potato · 20 September 2000

Until recently, I had been watching a lot more TV than I used to. Looking back, it seems kinda dumb. I would sit back and watch other people living their lives and I really didn’t live at all. Except through them. It was pretty sad. My life was really messed up.


I guess that I really noticed how much TV had screwed up my life when I got a call from my girl the other night. I was watching some dumb show when she called. Now, I’ve gotta tell you that I used to be a good listener. And not just by my own admission. But that night, I was too engrossed with the program to notice what she was talking about. At first when she called, I was irritated that somebody interrupted my show. Then I found out who it was and I was glad to hear from her. I laid back on the couch to listen better. I had already turned the TV’s sound down but the picture was still on. After saying hello and all of the pleasantries, she started telling me about her day. She started talking about how her boss said this and that. After a little while, I started to just say, “uh-huh” and not really listen. It was toward the end of the show where it gets exciting and I was watching the action and listening to her voice. Well, she figured out that I wasn’t listening when she asked me a question and I had to ask her to repeat it. She just hung up on me. I tried to call her back but she wouldn’t answer. So I watched the rest of the show and tried again. She had cooled down a little so we talked civilly until I told her why I hadn’t been listening. She got angry again and hung up after saying that I could just live with my TV and forget her if that was the way I wanted it. I called and called to try to talk to her again but she never answered. So I finally gave up and went to bed.


It was a fitful sleep. I could hardly get to sleep at all and when I finally did, I had a nightmare about marrying a TV from hell. That woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. It was two o’clock but I got out of bed, went to the living room, and automatically flipped on the tube with the remote as I sat down on the couch. The late-late show was on. Then the late-late-late show. I watched it all night and into the next day. All through the day I watched, mesmerized. I was glued to the couch. I had my remote and I flipped through the channels all day long. And all night the next night too. The phone rang, the doorbell jingled but I didn’t respond. I only knew the TV. I remember feeling a floating sensation and then I was watching myself from inside the TV screen. My body was sitting there slouched down in the couch with eyes wide and an expressionless face. I could tell that I was dead. I saw the paramedics come through the door with my girlfriend and the apartment manager. The paramedics checked for a pulse. They said that I was stone cold dead. They closed my eyes and everything went black. I tried to scream but nothing came out. And then I was sitting upright screaming at the top of my lungs. I was on the couch. The test pattern was on the tube. I was in a cold sweat shaking with fear. It was four in the morning — just two hours after I had started watching TV I realized that it had all been just a dream but as I looked dumbly at the television set, I knew what I had to do. So I got up from the couch, did the deed, and went back to bed to sleep peacefully for the rest of the morning.


I called my girlfriend up after I woke up that morning to see if she wanted to have dinner and talk. After I pleaded and begged for an hour, she finally relented and said that she would meet me at my place that evening at six. When she came in, she couldn’t hide her shock at what she saw. But she wasn’t afraid. She just looked at the axe in the TV and said calmly, “Better it than me.”


It was a lovely dinner.

© 2000 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Musings of a Mediocre Man published September 2000.

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