No heaven, no hell

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Note: This is not intended to be a biblically accurate account of the existence of heaven or hell. It’s just a story. Or a poem. Or whatever.

Two brothers
Sons of a preacher
raised to believe
there’s more to this life
than time spent on earth

One questioned his faith
cultivated his seeds of doubt
and at times chose paths
unworthy of a preacher’s son

One never wavered
stayed close to home
clung to the safety
of his father’s faith

Both were visited
by an angel
with a message from God
he said,

God knows the number of hairs of your head
and the number of days you have left on this earth.

Both replied,

We know this to be true. The Word of God tells us as much.

The angel then said,

The message God has sent me to deliver is this:
There is nothing else beyond this earth.
No heaven
No hell
The earth you walk upon encompasses both
and you choose which you will inhabit;
which path you choose to journey upon.
When you draw your last breath
your journey will come to an end.
No bright light at the end of a tunnel.
No fiery pit to suffer for all eternity.
There is no eternity
Only now.

The brothers spoke to one another
about this messenger from God
One was relieved
the other angry

I’ve spent my whole life depriving myself
of the things you’ve indulged in.
I’ve missed so many experiences
in lieu of heaven.
Now I am told there is nothing
beyond this world?
I’ve much catching up to do.

And so he did.

The other brother
who had questioned his faith
knew that what his brother had missed out on
didn’t amount to much.
And he heeded the angel’s words
about which path he would choose.
Heaven or Hell was a choice he could make.
He’d glimpsed at Hell.
He decided to give Heaven a shot.

And so he did.

He died to himself
Spent his days serving God by serving others
Not out of obligation
or the promise of Heaven
but out of Love
and he caught glimpses of Heaven
everywhere he looked.

Years later…

The brothers meet again
in a homeless shelter
one serving food
the other being served
and they talked about
the visiting angel

Do you still believe what the angel said?
About no Heaven or Hell?
After death there is nothing?,

asked the homeless brother.

Yes and no,
the other brother replied.
I believe we begin to live eternity here on earth,
but after that visit I began to search the scriptures.
I believe what God’s word says.
Not the angel.
I also believe that you’ve been given a glimpse of Hell
in order to understand the gift of Heaven.
A gift you felt entitled to as a birthright.
I hope you understand now the gift you chose to refuse
and know it is still being offered.

I think I do understand now, brother.
I don’t want to choose Hell anymore.
I choose Life.

Just then the brother felt a weight fall from his shoulder
Both brothers turned towards the sound of shreiking.
The angel who had been watching them all these years
was enraged that Hell would have one less resident.

As he flew away
both brothers remarked
How neither had noticed
the black wings
and singed robes before.

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