So, being misplaced in California, I particularly enjoyed spending last week in Omaha (I was there for business). My last day there, I stepped out of an office building and walked four blocks to my hotel, facing a persistent 36 degree wind. There were trees with leaves of gold, burgundy and softening green. My nose got a bit numb. It was great.
This brought to mind something that has always sort of bothered me about descriptions of the after-life. It's great that there is a lot of love and learning and happiness. But so much of what makes our current existence wonderful is those physical pleasures -- coming in from the snow to a blazing fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate. The bracing tannins of Zinfandel. The beauty of art that you have labored to master. The one-ness and other-ness of physical intimacy -- whether it's with a lover or a nursing infant or a snuggling child. Even the terrible cold depths of Lake Superior (if you've been there you know what I mean.)
An existence full of light and love and peace seems wonderful -- but does it only seem wonderful because in this life those are scarce commodities? In this context, explanations of the afterlife always seem so sterile and soft and easy. Like spending eternity in a pool of rice pudding (which is delicious, but still I wouldn't want a steady diet of it.)
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I just wonder about this. If any of you have a different perspective, I'd be interested to hear it.