Death Where is Thy Sting?

“Whoa. How did that happen? I was planning to write and work in the garden and walk the dogs!”

“The usual. A coronary. You just didn’t think those pills did anything, did you? Well, now you know. You should’ve kept taking them.”

“So this is Heaven?”

“Not quite, sweet cheeks. This is the vestibule. There are a few of you — fence sitters, I’d call you — that just couldn’t quite believe.”

“I never didn’t believe.”

“But you never believed, either.”

“Sure I did. I believed in a lot. I believed in ‘Sufficient unto the day is the malice thereof.’ I believed, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ I believed in ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’ I believed ALL of the Sermon on the Mount. I believed a bunch of other stuff, too.”

“We are aware of that. But, you also believed in the story of Krishna and Arjuna. You found Shiva to be a worthy role model — you IDENTIFIED with him!”

“Well, yeah. He went up to the mountain to straighten himself out and get over his broken heart and someone shot him with an arrow and he fell in love and BAM! Down the hill he went… And more! You have to admit, those stories have a lot of resonance for human beings.”

“Well, exactly. That’s why you’re here. Waiting in the vestibule. St. Paul will be out shortly to ask you questions.”

“I think I’d rather talk to God directly.”

“Oh yes, and then there is that Anabaptist stuff. You were really all OVER the religious map, weren’t you?”

“Well, wisdom is wisdom, dude. It’s impossible to get too much. It’s difficult down there. Confusing. No one knows what will happen next. It’s difficult perching on the edge of that uncertainty.”

“That’s where faith comes in, sweet cheeks. Looks like you were running a little short of it from time to time. That’s another reason you’re here.”

“Where are all my dogs? I thought this would be a forest with a little stone house in it and my friend Pietro and all my dogs running free in the woods.”

“You thought THAT!?? Wow, you even made up your own paradise!”

“Does that place exist here in the afterlife?”

“Sure. It’s over there somewhere. Nasty place where you must pick up after your dogs. Dismally earth-like.” The angel shuddered.

“Are my dogs there?”


“Molly, Truffle, Kelly, Maggie, Cheyenne, Lupo, Ariel, Mila, Big Puppy (now sane), Daisy, Persephone, Cody O’Dog, Lily, Jasmine, Dusty, Mindy — all of them? And my dogs now? Will they be coming up here? Is this ‘up’?”

“Yes. In good time.”

“Do I have to wait in line there and be interrogated by St. Paul?”

“No. You just go in.”

“I want to go there.”

“But you have a chance at paradise!”

“What paradise would it be for me without them? How do I get there?”

“Go down this hill…”

“Oh, hills…”

“It’s OK. You’re dead. You won’t feel anything. Just go down this hill, turn left at the bottom, go straight for, oh, about 2 miles and go left again. You’ll go a little further, and then, on your left, will be a sign. Go under the gate. Remember, left. Always left.”

“And I’ll spend eternity in a forest with my dogs?”