Today’s guest–blogger is Guideposts executive editor Rick Hamlin.
I had lunch the other day with author Anthony DeStefano, who has written some very helpful books about heaven, angels and prayer, most recently Angels All Around. His first book, which came out in 2005, was called A Travel Guide to Heaven. “How’d you come up with that the idea for that book?” I asked.
“My wife and I were newlyweds and I had to make a business trip out to Los Angeles,” Anthony explained. “We stayed at some hotel close to the airport, nothing great, but I thought it would be really exciting if I could add to it one night at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It would be a real splurge, something special for just the two of us.
“We got our luggage, got out of the car, walked up to check-in. Wouldn’t you know it? They’d lost my reservation. I stood there wondering what we were going to do. We didn’t have any other place to stay, and this was supposed to be our big adventure together. I felt so helpless.”
Anthony and his wife stood there for a while as the desk clerk stared into his computer. “I think we can find something for you,” the man said. He handed them a key, the bellhop took them to the elevator. They stepped out and were shown into a room—well, more than one room; several rooms, including a living room with a fire in a fireplace and a bottle of champagne on ice. They opened the door to a balcony with a view of palms, roses, a subtropical paradise.
“We ended up in the presidential suite!” he said. Later, after they had unpacked, he opened the bottle of champagne, poured it, raised his glass to his wife and remembered a toast a priest friend used to say, “All this and heaven, too!”
“It made me realize that heaven, like this suite, like the Resurrection, like the angels around us, was something real and tangible. I put down the glass of champagne, went back to my notebook and wrote the words: A Travel Guide to Heaven. And I couldn’t stop writing after that.”
I don’t expect to book a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel any time soon, but I knew just what Anthony was talking about. Sometimes things don’t go the way you expect. Instead they turn out even better than that.