I know that someday you'll find better things.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Heaven and Hell

Russ’s philosophical question of the day in Humanities involved theories and beliefs about the afterlife. The students were enthusiastic about the topic and especially delighted by this opportunity for the sanctioned use of H-E-double-hockeysticks in writing and discussion.

I don’t know if I could have speculated about eternity at age 12, but by age 20, I had accumulated enough first-hand experience to be something of an authority on the subject.
Heaven is a party-- a sophisticated soirée, a grand gala, a never-ending New Year’s celebration. There are stairways lined with flickering votives, tables piled high and deep with caviar and crudité, a well-stocked open bar, and swirling clouds of tissue paper confetti at midnight.

The guests have carte blanche to indulge with reckless abandon until they are saturated with socialization and ready to rest. At which point, their vehicles—summoned by sentinels—wait obediently for them at the very doorstep of the party.
When those final spirits have departed out into the night, drifting home to the bliss of their beds, the remaining souls turn to face their fate:

Hell is reserved for the cleanup crew.
Melted wax from tipped votive candles never fully lifts from the rugs on the staircases, no matter how many hours are spent clawing and scraping. Caviar clings stubbornly to plates, grit forever gauging the knuckles of the scourers. Toothpicks and melon rinds from the crudité hide, waiting to be discovered in potted plants, on windowsills, and behind picture frames. An infinite amount of cigarette butts will need to be gathered from the bushes, and there are always, always more fingerprints to be cleaned from the glass panes of doors and windows.

Our Lady of Wet Glass Rings has left her mark atop the grand piano-- concentric circles of an Olympic symbol here, an Audi emblem there... 

Polishing those out will surely take a second lifetime, at least.
The ever-taunting tissue paper confetti perpetually blows in the opposite direction as The Chosen One tries unsuccessfully to sweep, sweep, sweep it into the dustpan.

Believe me. Heaven is a party, and Hell is in charge of the cleanup.
My fellow Patrons of Purgatory and I made the best of it, but I think this preview of the afterlife etched a permanent mark in our memories, which in turn shaped our futures:

We all went out into the world—far, far away—to live our lives as good people so that we wouldn’t have to spend eternity cleaning up after the party.

No comments:

Post a Comment