afterlife Death Death and Dying dying heaven hell

My 65th Summer

As another year fades into history I wonder how much longer I’ll be around to witness the passing of time. When I think about the end of my life here and what takes place afterwards a BIG question mark pops into my head. And I know, and you do too, that there is only one way to know what happens after we’re gone.

I don’t dwell on the unknown but with each passing year I ponder a little longer on what happens next. If it’s to be believed from what I heard growing up, and if you’ve “been a good boy/girl” all your life, you’ll spend eternity in a place called Heaven where love rules and there is no hatred, meanness, or other “bad” things. If, on the other hand, you’ve “been a bad boy/girl” all your life you spend eternity suffering in a burning fire pit. What if you never heard either of those two options when you were growing up? What happens then?

If you’re in the “good boy/girl” group when you die and you find yourself in Heaven, what goes on there? I can think of lots of good things we do here in this life that I’d like to be able to do in Heaven if that’s where I end up. Are there guitars there? Digital cameras? Computers? Is there sex in Heaven? Or are we somehow transposed and transformed into some other type of being that knows and feels nothing of the life lived before?

I sure hope that I haven’t been so bad in this life as to spend the next one in a burning fire pit! I remember hearing a Pentecostal preacher proclaiming in a sermon that “unless you know Jesus as your personal savior, you will die and burn in a firery pit in Hell.” Hearing this as a little kid really did a number on my head! I know I haven’t been a “good boy” all my life. But I haven’t been all that bad either!

If all the above sounds like existentialism then I guess I might be an existentialist. Because the closer I move toward the end of my existence, the more I wonder if that existence has had any meaning, purpose, or value to anyone but me. Especially in a world that seems to be unravelling more and more with each passing year.

afterlife Death Death and Dying dying fall God heaven hell human music summer Trees

Buried with a tree

Simple things, you might imagine, a tree. You see them everywhere, pass them on your way to and from work, walk under, around, and in between them in the park, and grow them in pots in your living room. I have a rubber tree in my living room, it’s at least 25 years old.

Look closely, that’s me halfway up.

I own a little section of wooded property with mature oaks, maples, and hickories. I climbed a tall oak in the backyard a couple of years ago, just to prove to myself that I could still do it. I wish I could identify each and every tree I came upon, at the most I can name maybe a half dozen or so.DSC06240

Trees silently tell me that I’m not so important in the grand scheme of things. I strain my neck trying to see what’s in their upper branches, but it’s only the wind and the leaves struggling against it. A battle that is never won until autumn.

Black gum (2)Trees produce oxygen, clean the soil, trap carbon dioxide, provide cool shade in summer and warm heat in winter, act as noise barriers, and give us something to climb on.

I came across a very intreeguing article recently about burial alternatives. Did you know that you can have your remains put in a biodegradeable burial urn along with a tree seed of your choice and then be planted? I’m rethinking my burial plans, I suggest you do the same.

I’m also making a play list of songs I want folks to hear at my Final Party. Death Cab For Cutie’s “Stable Song” will be on it, because it’s beautiful, and so are you.