by Ian Palmer
Excerpt #4 from the book Hiking Toward Heaven by Ian Palmer
I hope you enjoy this uplifting story of hope on earth with hints of heaven…
Our next hike was to the TWA crash site in the Sandia Mountains. Michelle and Kara were there, as well as Darby, who is a cousin of Kara’s. After a couple hours on a steep (but well-marked trail through cacti and pinion pines), we saw two airplane tires lying in the grass side by side, like brothers holding hands in death. A little further up the trail was a piece of metal with the large letters “TWA 416” still visible and, propped up on a rock, a lonely chair that a person must have died in. A small plaque summarized the crash, saying that sixteen passengers and three crew members had died there in 1955 when the plane bound for Santa Fe had lost its way because of morning fog, and perhaps a faulty magnetic compass.
There were no survivors. The twin-engine plane had blasted into the Dragon’s Tooth, a
prominent rock spire above our heads. Bits and pieces of the plane lay in a debris field that stretched a hundred yards up and down the canyon.
“Hey, come and look at this!” yelled Darby. “Its part of the engine with a propeller still attached.” The cooling fins of layered metal were twisted and tortured by the impact of the explosion.
Over a quiet lunch, Michelle asked me a question. “What would you be feeling if you knew you were going to crash?” she asked.
Uh-oh, she is getting serious now … This is about death. And what would a coangel know about human death?…
While I hesitated before answering, Darby jumped right in to the conversation. “I’ve got to ask you, what’s heaven like?” With eager eyes, he looked intently at Michelle.
“Well, you can go fishing,” she replied as she winked at me a plea to tolerate this interru
“You’re kidding.” Darby raised his eyebrows. “I thought heaven was all about going to church and worshipping God … and living in a mansion next to streets of gold.”
“The mansion and the gold streets were the symbols used when the Bible was written … symbols of rare beauty, wonder, and sources of happiness. Heaven, for Jesus’ followers is a place of intense happiness, almost beyond imagination.”
“Do you mean we will be able to do things that make us happy?” Darby wanted to confirm this.
“Absolutely. Whatever makes you happy here will be available to make you happy there. You will certainly be able to have fun, for fun is a form of happiness. But of course, heaven is much more than that …”
Michelle turned and winked at Darby. “You know, Jesus loves to fish too.”