The long and the short of it is that there is no way that we can know what heaven will be like here on earth. "Eye has not seen" and all that jazz. It is interesting to me to realize the ways that my views of heaven have changed as I have gone on. Actually, I think it was my idea of hell that might have changed first. Someone mentioned eternal separation from God. I suddenly realized how horrific that was. Fire seemed very minor and secondary to the point that if you're in hell, there is no repentance, no reconciliation with God, no growing closer to Him.
I think the other thing that has changed is starting to realize that all the good things of this earth are not things that we "give up" in order to gain something better in heaven, but rather are the things that point us to heaven and prepare us for it. I love the mountains, and there is something about them that speaks to my soul. I don't live in the mountains, but when I am there, something just feels right. One day, I realized that there would be mountains in heaven. Okay, there may not be actual mountains, but I realized that whatever it was about the mountains that called to me would not only be present in heaven, but perfected there.
I guess little by little I have stopped seeing the afterlife as an afterthought, if that makes any sense. My lack of understanding used to see heaven as a consolation prize for those that had to die. Now I'm starting to understand a little better how this life not "real life" so much as a preparation for real life in heaven. I still don't really grasp what all that means. When my grandma died last year, though, it made me see her death as beginning. It was like she had graduated. It was not the end. As much as I miss her sometimes, I don't want her back here.
This is slightly changing directions, but I also found (and love!) this passage in the Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. This is written as the heavenly Father speaking to Catherine about the people in heaven:
"Forever they rejoice in love at the sight of me, sharing in that goodness which I have in myself and which I measure out to them according to the measure of love with which they have come to me...They rejoice and exult with the angels... And though they are all joined in the bond of charity, they know a special kind of sharing with those whom they loved most closely with a special love in the world, a love through which they grew in grace and virtue. They helped each other proclaim the glory and praise of my name in themselves and in their neighbors. So now in everlasting life they have not lost that love; now, they still love and share with each other even more closely and fully, adding their love to the good of all."
So, friends, know that this is talking about you. (I think that creepy amounts of love would count as "special love in this world", right? Or is that not the same kind of "special"?)