Soquel, California — Monday, November 21st

The horror!

I was never really scared of going to hell for all eternity, even after hearing Father Carey's vivid description of eternity in the catechism class that I used to attend as a young boy way back in the early sixties.

I was a good Roman Catholic boy: I had received the holy sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation, I attended the catechism classes every week, I went to church every Sunday, I was an altar-boy — and I wanted to be a priest when I grew up! Why would I be afraid of hell? I was going to heaven!

But after Father Carey's description of eternity, I was scared — scared of going to heaven!

What would I do there?

Father Carey had no convincing answer to that question.

He had no real answers because the Bible has so little information about God (Who is He? What is His name? Does He have a family? What does He do all day?) and therefore so little information about His home — heaven.

So I was left with the vague idea (mostly gleaned from Renaissance paintings) of God as a grumpy old guy in the sky, and heaven as a place where everybody sat around in white robes and played on harps!

I had a pretty good idea — Father Carey had some wicked graphic slideshows! — what hell was like: lakes of fire! brimstone! (and this was my worst nightmare!) the Devil running around with a pitchfork, gleefully poking everybody in the butt (Oww!).

But heaven? It did not seem nearly as exciting. Bland beings, living lackluster lives, sitting soporifically on cotton-clouds, pusillanimously plucking on humongous harps... How excruciatingly borrr–innng!

And that was going to be my reward for being good? Sitting on a cloud, playing a harp?

"For all eternity..."

How these words filled me with dread! Boredom forever and ever and ever and ever and...

It seemed so unfair! If I was good boy, my "reward" in heaven would be like an eternal time-out! I thought being made to sit in a corner was a disciplinary measure for kids who misbehaved themselves?

Now if I was only given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with — alright!

But a harp?

The horror! The horror!

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Layout by iMonk — November 21st, 2005.