Thursday, September 28, 2006

Off for the Sweet Hereafter

A fellow I knew slightly, died yeterday. He used to run various cafeterias around town and was a very "hands on" manager, so I would talk to him infrequently. Mostly about food items.

Anyway, the guy wrote his own obituary. This pleased me. I think everyone should write their own obituary, I have gone through several drafts of mine. The problem is that you have to keep a current obit or the information may you provide may be of events and people you no longer care about. Then there is the problem of the blank you must lead describing what you died of. My obits are funny, but no humor can overcome my wife filling in the "died of" blank with "three gunshot wounds to the chest" or "loss of blood caused by the attack of his pit bull".

My obits all end the same way, with a quote from Mark Twain who at the end of the description of where services would be held always felt it best to include "do not bring your dog". Twain also once said of some person, that he was was "as out of place as a Presbetyrian in Hell" which brings me to the real reason I am writing this piece.

The aforementioned fellow who just passed on, stated in his obituary that he was going to heaven. Now, I like a man with confidence, but I don't think I'd put that statement in my obit, there's no sense tempting fate. Anyway, I could forgive him that, but he went on to say that he was sorry that he would not see many of us there. Again, he may be right on the mark as far as my eternal dwelling is concerned, but did he really have to say it ? I know the excuse, he is an Evangelical Christian aand wants me and all others, to know that we'd better have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal savior, or start making plans to do it pronto, if we did not want to end up like a stanza from a John Milton poem

It is upsetting to me that people think that a merciful God is going to send more than four and a half BILLION people to Hell for not accepting Jesus. I doubt the place has that much room, especially when you add on those that are already writhing in the Everlasting Lake of Fire. It is a scary thought though. I keep a tract that was handed to me on the street a few years ago. It is like a mini comic book and is about this hipster-dufus who dies "unsaved". The climatic moment has the dufus meeting a giant Jesus sitting on a throne, floating in the air. He asks Jesus if he can go to heaven. Jesus replies, "No and it breaks my heart that you will be suffering in hell for all of eternity when you could have accepted me..." at that point Jesus goes on to list specific dates where then dufus was given a chance to repent and did not.

I don't know how much effect these tracts have on people. It is safe to say that no one knows for sure what happens to you after you die. For political reasons, religion has spent a lot of time dwelling on the world to come as a better place than this one. And maybe it will be. I would like to see every person who has been mistreated or lived a hard life to get some comfort at the end of the day. And it has always seemed to me that God would want that for his people, no matter what religion they might be . So my obituary will be a little different than my friend's. Just like the old song, it will say,

"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
but I know we'll meet again some sunny day.
Keep smiling through just like you always do,
till the blue skies blow the dark clouds far away.

And won't you please say hello to the folks that I know
and tell'em I won't be long.
And they'll be happy I know
that when you saw me go,
I was singing this song.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
but I know we'll meet again some sunny day.

Do not bring your dog.


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