Maybe Heaven Isn’t That Perfect
“My God’s better than your god” is a game I choose not to play. It tends to produce nothing but tension, if you call most of humankind’s conflicts “tension.” Religious differences have accounted for the vast majority of these occurrences, blood shed in the name of God.
That being said I have much respect for folks whose lives include organized religion, of any denomination, because it is part of the human experience to try and make some sense of it all. You know, the biggee: Why are we here?
It matters not whether one derives comfort from being one of many like-minded individuals meeting every Saturday [Sunday...Thursday...], or whether you just like that notion of going to heaven, where your team wins the world series every year, and your golf game...well, maybe heaven isn’t that perfect.
The bottom line is that life is filled with surprises, some of them spontaneous and joyful and some of them awful. That’s the way it works and when stuff gets piled up, one negative thing on top of another, you just want to go some place where you pay a dime to call someone who actually gives a heck.
My take on organized religion is that is is a win/win proposition for those who embrace it, and no one can take that away from an individual-no one. For myself, who chooses a more solitary path, neither more nor less “spiritual” than the average church-goer, I might suggest that my religion consists of confronting those issues I encounter on my journey through life, and evaluating my response to those situations that would be classified as “awful.”
I mean, it’s easy to be on top of your game when everything is coming up roses, but how about when those same roses rip the stuffing out of the inside of your arm, when you get careless and get snagged by a thorn? One of those jagged four-inch-long rips because you were in a hurry?
OK, so a scratch is not exactly Death Valley on the Life’s Timeline but you get my drift. Part of it is simply coping with hardships, but a lot of it has to do with rising above life’s dilemmas, and carrying on with as positive of a front as as humanly possible. I derive much spiritual comfort from evaluating my conduct and finding it acceptable.
Lest I come across as smug, it being most convenient that I am the one evaluating my own conduct, I am quite hard on myself if I come up short in my behavior. Let’s face it, I am not comparing my behavior with that of others-only with that which I find appropriate.
Heaven? I find the concept, though more palatable, just as unrealistic as hell, the place I was doomed to inhabit from early on. There were just too many absurd rules in the religion I was indoctrinated into, for me to ever hang onto it once I hit the age of reason.
Call me an existentialist, call me a heathen, or call me a human being. Or better still, call me Mark. And when I finally close my eyes for the first good “night’s sleep” I have had since age ten, it will also be my last.