84 years old.
Soon I will be dead.
Where Do I Go From Here?
I have just passed my eighty third birthday. It’s time to start thinking about the inevitable. I read the obituaries every day and realize that, little by little, I am passing everyone listed there. I guess I am getting old.
What do you mean getting old, Carl?
You passed a cemetery the other day and two guys chased you with a shovel!
You don’t buy green bananas any more!
You are old!
Come on Carl, stop being silly.
Ok. Ok. On with the subject… Since time began, men have pondered about the after life. Does it exist? Is there a place we go after we die? Is there a heaven? What is it like? Do we have wings? Do we float on a cloud? What about hell? Do we shovel coal into an eternal fire?
Shakespeare wonders in his famous soliloquy,”To Be Or Not To Be.”… To die, to sleep… no more… and by to sleep to say we end the heartaches and the thousand natural shocks the flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
To die… to sleep… to sleep perchance to dream? Ay! There’s the rub!”
THE Egyptians, Ancient Indians, countless religions all prepare their loved ones for the final journey in many ritualistic ways.
It’s the great mystery. We don’t want our lives to end,
Maybe that’s why we tend to avoid using the word die.
I once wrote a poem called, “Let’s face it.”
Haven’t you noticed? Open your eyes.
In this day and age, nobody dies.
When we get old, feeble and gray
And our heart stops. We just pass away.
Why do our friends sigh, mourn and weep
If in fact, we have just gone to sleep?
Come on. Face it. Give it a try.
The Angels don’t take us,
Well that’s kind of final and not what I choose to believe now.
Why? I go back to the argument I used in my last column.
Persons, far more intelligent and respected than I, believe that there is an after life.
Why shouldn’t I?
Also, the God I worship and trust has promised it to me.
So, I look forward to it as a great adventure.
I don’t believe there is anything to be afraid of. Think about it. If we can survive birth, why not death? We are so comfortable in our Mother’s womb. It is warm and safe. We are fed. No problems… No taxes… No politics… No rent to pay… All of a sudden… Wham! We are thrust out into the world. Someone slaps us on the fanny. We cry.We are hungry and cold. Henceforth, we have to struggle to survive. Dying has got to be a little better than that. God demands faith and that’s what we need. It is a better place.
Sometimes we are blessed with a sign. I want to share a personal experience that is true. You can choose, or not, to believe it.
My Mother, bless her, died more than 25 years ago. She was very ill in a hospital in Florida and I went down to be with her. I was there almost two weeks and I had to get back to work. She was stubbornly still among us. So, my brother and sisters left me alone to say good by to her before taking me to the airport. I was holding her hand and said,”Just think Mom, soon you will be with Dad and all your loved ones.”
“You really think so?” She replied. When I said yes, she sighed and said, “Well isn’t that going to be nice!” Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep. I figured that would be a good time to leave. Those were the last words I heard her say. “Well isn’t that going to be nice! “
A few days later I got the bad news and went back for the funeral.
A couple of years ago, I got a phone call from a lady. She told me she had been to see me and we discussed the fact that she had psychic abilities and some times communicated with dead people. I did not remember her.
So, I was very suspicious when she said, “I am contacting you because your Mother has been coming to me in a dream and asking me to call you and tell you that you should be taking better care of yourself. You have been working too hard and should go for a check up.”
I was wondering what she really wanted when she said, “Also, to make sure and tell you,Yes, it really is nice”… I was amazed because I had not told anyone about that final conversation. It was a private memory.
So, I believe I have been blessed with a sign that I pass on to others.
Remember, I am 84 years old. I don’t lie any more.
In my practice, I see people who are having a difficult time mourning. I tell them that they should allow themselves the right to do so. The mourning does not end at the funeral. We don’t run a race and stop at the finish line. But, I remind them that they are mourning the loss they experience. That the persons we love and miss are in a better place and we are destined to be there with them some day.
People worry as to whether they will be admitted to heaven. They are burdened with guilt. Remember, God is a loving father. He is patient and forgiving. No need to worry. He will forgive and welcome you.
Back to the silliness:
We have only two things to worry about.
Will we be well or get sick?
If we are well, we have nothing to worry about.
If we get sick, we have only two things to worry about.
Will we live or will we die?
If we live, we have nothing to worry about.
If we die, we will have only two things to worry about.
Will we go to heaven or go to hell.
If we go to heaven, we have nothing to worry about.
If we go to hell,
We will be so busy saying hello to our friends,
We will have nothing to worry about!
Sorry! Back to the seriousness.
Since we are finite in nature, the concept of eternity is very difficult for us to fathom.
A woman once said to me, “How could there be a heaven? Where would they put all the millions of people who have died? There would not be enough room! “
I asked her if she had ever looked at the stars on clear, dark night.
A man once remarked, ” I don’t think I would want to live for ever. It would be very boring.” What he did not realize is that eternity is an eternal now. It is not a lot of days and weeks and years. It is an eternal moment. That is very difficult for us to imagine. That’s why it is a great mystery and adventure. Something to look forward to.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am in no hurry.
“Miles to go before I sleep and promises to keep”.
P.S. All this reminds me of a joke and people who know me will tell you I love to tell a joke. So perhaps I will leave you with a smile.
Abe dies and his wife Becky misses him. She decides to have a seance. She is seated at a round table with her friends in the dark, just a candle burning. They are holding hands. All of a sudden she hears.. “Becky! Becky!”
“Abe, is that you? “
“Yes, Becky, it’s me, Abe”
“Abe, how are you? Are you happy?”
“Oh yes Becky. I am very happy. All the cows! All the beautiful cows! “
“Abe, they have cows in heaven?”
“What heaven… I’m in Argentina. I came back as a bull!”