There is also an underlying, less specific fear - what some might call an ontological or existential anxiety - that shrouds our days and seeps into our dreams. We feel empty and seek meaning. We feel empty and seek meaning. We yearn and know not what we yearn for. There is a black hole at the center of our understanding that engulfs and crushes our every attempt to explore it. Something is missing.
When I am a good host, I can order the world precisely as I believe it ought to be. It is a world that I have created in my mind and in my own image, and it gladdens me profoundly to see it unfold without original sin, without expulsions and floods and disobedience and illness. When I am a good guest, I have returned to Eden, where everything I need is provided for me, including companionship and a benevolent deity at my shoulder serving me and protecting me. The concept of paradise may be backward-looking but the concept of heaven is anticipatory. Perhaps this is what heaven will be like? A great table of oak worn smooth with age and candle wax; a dimly lit room, a quartet of angels playing Sarah Vaughan in the corner; this blissful throb of quiet, intelligent conversation; bubbling pots and aromatic stews that no one seems to have worked to prepare; and you - you have nothing to worry about, not now, not here, not for all eternity. Leave it all behind at the threshold, forget everything, for here in heaven, you are my guest.