Hereafter

Do you believe in Heaven? 

Do you believe there is a place … an experience … an existence … in store after your life ends?

If so, you’re in the majority.

The latest film directed by Clint Eastwood addresses this most foundational question of human existence.   And while this slow-paced, thoughtful, and ultimately comforting story doesn’t really answer any of these profound questions, it reinforces what a reported 74% of the human population believe.  Specifically, that there actually is an experience we have in store after we leave this world.  There actually is a Hereafter.

     Yes … three-quarters of the world believes this.

Of course, this also means that fully one-quarter of all of us do not believe. 

     To me this is a troubling statistic. 

It means that a lot of people go through their lives with nothing to look forward to past our time here on Earth.  The must devote their lives … a span of time that is by any measurement infinitesimal, to finding any joy that they can.  And sadly, for a great many people, life is not a particularly enjoyable time on the whole and the pursuit of happiness is burdensome.

If you’ve read me in the past, you know that I’m a bit of a worrier … and you know that at times I question the meaning of life.  I really do wonder exactly why we’re here, but one thing I do not question is what happens once we’re not here.

A lot of people these days look at it from a different perspective.  They have no doubt about what happens when we die.  They are certain that when we are dead, we are simply gone. 

     Yep … a cosmic switch flips and that’s it …

I find the concept that one day a switch will simply flip and I’ll be gone forever, to be extremely depressing.  If I believed this, I’d probably create the proverbial “bucket list.”  I would probably spend my remaining time trying to do as much as possible of the things that human beings think are important. 

     But, I don’t have a bucket list and here’s why …

When my Mother was in the hospital and was “actively dying”, I wondered what she was experiencing.  I wondered what she was feeling … what she was seeing.

My Dad and I talked about this and asked ourselves if she could see Heaven from where she was, as she slowly drifted away from us that long afternoon and evening last March.  We pondered what things might be like for her while her body gave in to the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

Of course, we were sad for ourselves.  It’s human nature to cling to the things we have come to love and not to want to part with them.

But, we were happy for her, because we knew Mom was not afraid to die.  And subsequently, we weren’t afraid for her to die. 

And while we couldn’t know for sure, we agreed that at some point in the process, she could see Heaven and the thought gave us comfort.

Like the majority of the people on Earth, I believe in a hereafter.  I firmly believe that there is life after death and I am convinced that there is a more to our existence than that which happens during our all-too-brief time here.

     For this reason, I am not afraid to die.  And I have no “bucket list” …

I firmly believe in the Hereafter and I do not fear my own death.  I am in no hurry.  I will not rush it.  But, I will anticipate it and look forward to it when my time arrives.

Until then, I guess I’ll probably continue to be a bit of worry-wart and I’ll still ponder the meaning of why we’re actually on Earth for the time that we are. 

But, I’ll try to be happy and I’ll try to make other people happy as well. Because I’ve been told that’s the real reason why we’re here.

… and it sounds like as good a reason as any.

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About Judson

Late bloomer ... aspiring writer and musician.
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11 Responses to Hereafter

  1. nrhatch says:

    I tend to share your views.

    Maybe death is like walking from one room to another ~ flipping off the life switch HERE and flipping on the life switch THERE.

  2. herby says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it.

    I used to fear death because I feared losing contact with the people I love. Like not seeing my friends or family ever again.

    But in recent years I have come to believe that my soul and energy will continue. That they will find either a new human body to live through or they will go on to whatever comes after our souls are at peace. This has helped me live every day without fear of dying – and that means that I’m no longer afraid of living. I respect life so don’t take unecessary risks that are beyond my capability. But I now live … because I know that my soul or spirit needs to experience this life and will be okay after my body dies.

    Thank you so much for this post and making me think about these things. 🙂

  3. lesliepaints says:

    Totally agree. There is a “Hereafter”. Good post.

  4. Death–the ticket to the next ‘adventure’?

  5. pjusticern says:

    As a hospice nurse, I have seen many “actively dying” patients. I’ve seen them reach their arms out as to embrace someone, maybe even calling them by name. This is a natural process that leaves me convinced in the Hereafter. I don’t worry about Hell as a non-believer. I know that we all are embraced by the people who loved us, and if there is a God attached to that Hereafter place, well then, that is a lovely, comforting thought.

    • Judson says:

      “Actively Dying” …

      I had never heard the term until my Mom lost consciousness last March after years of fighting Parkinson’s. When the doctors began to say she was “actively dying”, it sounded terribly intimidating at first, but it eventually introduced us to the availability of Hospice. I now have so much appreciation and respect for Hospice nurses! My Mom was under the care of a wonderful woman during her last few days and it was such a comfort to us as family to have such a caring individual there for us. Thank you so much for the wonderful service you provide!

      — Judson

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