March 4, 2016 by phicks2012
The other day I was watching — or sort of watching — something on TV about different beliefs regarding the afterlife, and they were talking about loved ones waiting for us on the other side. My 96-year old Aunt Libba had just passed away, following my 97-year old Uncle Jimmy by less than a year, and everyone was saying they knew he’d been there waiting for her and that they were together again — and that was a beautiful picture. On the other hand, it lead me to wonder just who, aside from my mother maybe, I personally might possibly expect to see when my own time came, and HEY, not a lot of names sprang immediately to mind.
It’s not like the “love of my life” is going to be standing there, because he walked away a VERY long time ago in real life, and probably hasn’t given me a second thought in YEARS. It’s not as though I’d expect to see my “best friend for life” waiting, because I never actually had one of those. It’s also not likely that one of the BIG NAMES is going to show up personally to give me the Grand Tour, and since I won’t have died in battle Valkyries are probably right out too, huh? 😉
Disappointing, and it occurred me me that maybe without a guide I’d face a challenge getting to where I am supposed to be. I’d really hate to take a wrong turn at a confusing cloud-bank or fork in some celestial road and wind up falling off a cliff — like in some overgrown areas of World of Warcraft — to wind up right smack in the middle of a bunch of unpleasantness.
Then too, what if I drift out of my body and there’s a really annoying relative standing there, or maybe some total stranger who’s simply been delegated to take the job in the absence of anyone else? Bummer. What if, when I finally get to where I’m going it’s like the cruise ship I once went on — with everybody else paired up or with friends, and me just sort of wandering around by myself? That would just totally SUCK!
So, anyway, I wrote the (admittedly rather depressing) verse below with those thoughts in mind — and probably for my SCA newsletter — and while I was really hoping for reincarnation. 😉
Heaven or Hell
If, when the cord of life plays out to lengthen nevermore,
Our souls rise up, all unemcumbered there,
In faith tis told that loved ones come to meet us on the shore,
And lead us on to lands surpassing fair.
Tis said that those we loved in life, and lost to passing time,
Return in happiness to take our hands,
And show the way beyond the veil, transversing the sublime,
To linger evermore in sunlit lands.
But I am moved to wonder if, when at the the shepherd’s call,
There is no one to answer, do we go
And seek the path to paradise alone, and find a wall
Through which we cannot pass from lands we know?
Or, if we never had a love to wait and lead us on,
Or walk beside us in the timeless time,
If though we find our fumbling way to an eternal dawn
There is no one to join our pantomime?
And if we rise and look around, and see within the door
The form of someone we would not desire
To walk beside into the light and tarry evermore
Beside, could we to better paths aspire?
Or would we have to settle for companions we’d not choose,
And for eternity where fates compel
Our souls to linger walking in another spirit’s shoes?
Would that be heaven still? More likely hell.
I never had a faithful love who did not walk away,
Nor friend who steadfast stood when times were cold.
Why should I then expect to see loved faces on the day
When I go seeking after fields of gold?
So yes, I fear the end of things, when earthly life is done,
And I no longer walk this waking land,
That in an endless universe, beneath a deathless sun
There may be no one there to take my hand.
[02 February 2016]