My dream is heaven.
My hope is heaven.
But for many years heaven seemed so far away, as did God. The depth of my faith in high school and most of college was very shallow. I was faithful to the tradition and expectations of the Catholic Church that I was raised in. I was faithful to the expectations of my friends and family. Still, the most important part of my faith was missing. I did not have a personal, intimate and real relationship with Christ. I was missing my best friend.
I was 19-years-old when I experienced hell on earth: I was the farthest from God that I’d ever been. I was tired of believing in a God who seemed to not accept me for who I was and who didn’t really care about what I was doing. In believing this, I thought that I could hide the dark side of my life from God. I was independent, strong, and sly – so I thought as a sophomore in college. I made choices that lead me into a selfish, lonely world.
Then came the days when I realized that God knew everything. I had a series of nervous breakdowns over the course of a few weeks. One of these breakdowns occurred as I sat in my bedroom towards the end of my sophomore year. There was an anxious and sinking feeling that came over me in a way I had not felt before. I was unable to suppress these feelings like I had been able to do previously. I fell to my knees in hysterics finally understanding and accepting that I could hide no longer. God had been with me through everything and it was in this realization that caused me so much heartache. He saw everything about me and yet hadn’t abandoned me. This realization was my rock bottom.
How could anyone still love me and know everything about me? I had long forgotten who Brian Geeding was. I didn’t think that God had a divine mission for me any longer…but what if He somehow still did? What if God’s love and forgiveness that I had read about all my life was true?
“God, if you are out there and can help me get out of this, I am yours.”
This was what I believe to be my first true statement of faith. This was a moment of conversion. Christ reached his hand down off the cross to the depth of my hell. His hand, his gaze of hope and love came at the only time it could have. “I’ve been waiting for you, Brian.” The hands of Christ had protected the tiny spark of hope in my heart. He would not let it be snuffed out.
And so it began – the journey to know God and to know my true self, which I believe to be one in the same for all of us. The road to loving and forgiving myself has not been without relapse, without hardship, and without confusion. Recognizing though that my best friend stands next to me, always, is what has formed the joy in my heart.
Now, seven years later, what does this all mean for my dream to live in heaven? The God I have come to know opens the doors to our dreams. The door to heaven is open. It is here and now. My dream is possible today. I believe that heaven is within reach in this life for all of us. You and me, him and her, we are the living bodies of Christ. Scrape away the surface layers and we will see that it is Christ that lives in us. The moment when we believe this and act on this is heaven. It’s here. It’s now.
I often hear Christ say in my prayer, “Do whatever you need to do to fall in love with me.” And so, the journey of falling in love continues. This journey, we all share in together. God wants us to know He is real. If we want to truly know, then we ask the question. “Will you help me to see where you are today?” He meets us where we are.