Monthly Archives: February 2020

John Lennon Will See You Now

I haven’t read Mitch Albom’s book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. But just seeing the title in my local library got me thinking about who I’d like to visit in the Eternal Afterward. There’s loved ones I’ll want to hug right away; my husband and parents, friends and relatives. Then there’s people I’ve always wondered about, like Joan of Arc, Einstein, and Florence Nightingale. But the non-family person I’d really love a conversation with is John Lennon.

My guess is, he’s still so popular, he needs an agent to organize his time. Possibly an angel, or some lucky deceased fan.  As I see him in my mind’s eye, he looks a bit weary. I didn’t think that was possible in heaven. But then, I’m just an ordinary person, and not famous. So what do I know. I have a hushed meeting with his agent before we begin.

“Don’t ask him any questions about the whole’ ‘the Beatles are more popular than Jesus’ thing. People think they can joke about it, and frankly, even Jesus doesn’t want to hear that one anymore. If you want to talk about their time in India, he suggests you make an appointment with George Harrison.’

I nod eagerly, just wanting all the formalities to go away so I can sit face to face with my grade school crush, John Lennon. Remember the bubble gum cards? Anyway. Is he really as sincere as he seemed on earth? Are his ideals still lofty? Does he truly believe that we here on earth can give peace a chance? I just can’t wait to find out.

Finally, we sit face to face. He’s not as relaxed as I would like, but since he probably thought heaven would be one long holiday, I can’t say I blame him. I smile and before I can stop myself, I say, ‘Help. I need somebody.” Then I grin. “It’s you.” His eyes roll so hard, I think they’re going to leave their sockets and I’m certain I just blew my meeting with J.L. But then, yaay! He smiles back.

“I’m so glad you didn’t say, ‘I’ve got a ticket to ride. That’s where I draw the line.’

‘As if,’ I reply, trying not to look guilty. (That had been my initial, ice-breaking idea.) ‘I’m more interested in your song, Imagine. How do you feel, now that you’re in heaven? Like, oh no, I never imagined I’d end up here?” I see him barely suppress a yawn and realize he’s answered this question many times.

‘It was never about heaven being real,’ he says. ‘It was always about people not making excuses to fight each other. Not using religion to divide the world.’ I almost don’t hear what he’s saying. I’m so in love with that lilting Scouse accent one finds only in Liverpool and surrounding area, that I lose track of our conversation. The agent wanders over.

‘One minute left,’ he whispers in my ear. I know my bible, so I have a ready reply. ‘A day in God’s life is like a thousand years.’ The angel agent (they had to get rid of the deceased fan…he wouldn’t let anyone else see John) replies, ‘You’re not God.” There’s barely time for me to shout, ‘All my loving!’ before I’m ushered swiftly away, still feeling a bit star struck.

Back in the warm hills around my snug hobbit hole (my current dream of a heavenly residence, as long as there are windows) I breathe the fresh air and try to decide who I’ll bother next. The possibilities are endless. Einstein? Mother Theresa? Michelangelo? I sigh at the infiniteness of it all and wonder what to do with my time, besides going on tropical vacations with my husband. (It’s a thing here.) Suddenly, a bell rings. It’s time for the millions strong choir to sing heaven’s anthem. (Also a thing.) I change into my long white robe and rush out the door, energized by a brilliant idea. If I hurry, I might secure a spot beside Aretha Franklin. But just in case, I’ll check in with her agent first.

A Wrinkle in Time

They come to everyone, eventually, those fine folds in the skin that look like a mistake the first time they show up. You find yourself peering into a mirror and thinking, what is that? I was standing in the fancy shower room of the Yak and Yeti hotel in Katmandu when I first noticed lines beside my eyes. I hadn’t heard about sun screen yet, and had just finished a three week uphill walk in the Himalayas. We’d hardly washed our faces, never mind applying any cream.  I was twenty-five years old.

I like to blame childbirth for my very first forehead wrinkle. Imagine, (if you’re not actually in labour at this moment) that you’re trying to pass a honeydew melon through your nether regions. For some, it’s thirty hours of ongoing physical stress followed by the bearing down part, which is just as earthy as it sounds. I defy anyone to walk away from that without a few lines on their forehead. Then there are the late nights with baby, and the toddler moments that don’t end until your child leaves home in the guise of a grownup.

Men who live with women have forehead lines, too. The married ones especially, whose days contain many moments of complete and utter bewilderment. ‘Why is she mad? What did I do? Is it something I said?’ There are no correct answers to these questions, and men’s forehead wrinkles deepen accordingly. Perhaps this is women’s revenge for childbirth. I don’t know. I’m merely guessing, as I always do.

Forehead wrinkles can have harsher consequences than just older looking skin. They are often the gateway to wearing bangs. Once you’ve gone in that direction, it’s very hard to go back. Growing them out is unbearable. If women had to decide between that and experiencing childbirth again, it would be a close call. My decision, back when I was younger, was an easy one. “You should have bangs,” my hair stylist said. ‘Okay,’ I replied, innocent as a child. I’ve been in bang purgatory ever since.

Things change as you age. Hairstyle options lessen, and eventually you have to decide if you’re going for the old woman from Transylvania look, or giving in to a shorter hairstyle that includes bangs. We’re all with you in that one. It takes a village to support those of us who’ve made difficult choices, and those who have no choice left because they’re ninety and its the only way to go, unless they’re related to Snow White.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our wrinkles told a story using speech bubbles that floated around our heads? They’d say things like, ‘Eye wrinkles? You like to laugh!’ You’d get lots of congratulatory looks from passersby, because laughing is always a good thing. But what about the ones that come from worry?

Many of us spend serious time imagining bad things happening to people we love. I’ve been working on this. (Thank you, Jesus, and Eckhart Tolle’s book, ‘A New Earth.’ You work beautifully together.) But in the meantime, a person of a certain age can look like they’ve been through a war.

No matter what one does, the passage of time will dragged its clawed feet across your face. Too much wine? Hello, eye bags. Excessive amounts of dark chocolate? Here’s a rash, or maybe some zits. Lack of sleep? Add ten years. Whatever it is, gravity and life will drag at your flesh until it raises a white flag. ‘Fine. Have your way with me.’
The good news is, this doesn’t usually happen until we’re older and happier. It’s true, dear people in your twenties and thirties. Those in their forties are happier than younger people, and it gets even better after that for most of us. (Google it. Science agrees!)

Perhaps its the ability to put things into perspective. Maybe its because the kids have left home and you can finally afford better quality skin care products. Whatever the cause, it’s easier to laugh about everything once you’re reached a certain age.

So take heart, young people. It gets better. Yes, the wrinkles come, but most days, you won’t care. Because your friends are going through the same thing. And for some reason, it becomes the source of a lot of laughter. And that’s a very good look on everyone. Even people with bangs.