Heaven or Hell?


Last Friday my dad’s best and oldest friend’s ashes were scattered around a remote railway in North Wales. Dad misses him very much and yesterday we had a chat about the situation. I felt terrible that I hadn’t found the time to drive him to Wales to say one final goodbye. Dad was circumspect. “It’s alright, I asked his niece to let him know that I’ll see him up or down soon. I expect it will be down.”

“Down? What to hell?” My dad replied that that was exactly where he expected and he imagined that his friend was hanging out there in a bar waiting for him.

I need to take a moment to explain Dad to you. He is not in the slightest bit religious. In fact he is so unreligious that when I was  a teenager my way of rebelling was to become a Catholic. He’s also lovely, grumpy, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti semitic and islamophobic. Actually, any label of hatred towards another group of people and he’s it. But, he’s 77 and he’s generous to a fault (even helping one of my friends to buy a car when she needed it and never asking for the money back) and he is one of the cleverest people I know. When my mum was drinking and ill he looked after me in a sweet Kramer V Kramer way that only he could and I know that he would never willingly hurt anyone.

Hopefully, you can understand why I was shocked at his defiant belief that he was going somewhere flamey. It got me thinking, if my dad thinks that he’s going to go to hell for having a few beers, swearing and being a bit bad as a young man (and by this I mean stealing a station sign once and maybe trespassing), then surely the majority of us are going the same way. In today’s society, maybe we need to reconsider what is a sin, otherwise Hell is going to be massively over populated. We won’t be able to move for people who never married but had sex, pot smokers and those 90s teenagers who shoplifted pic’n’mix from Woolworths. In fact, Heaven is going to be a little bit sparse too. Maybe they might start advertising for people who only committed smallish sins to move on up. And actually, if Hell is as my dad imagines, full of people who stole train signs in their 20s, are there good and bad neighbourhoods?

Maybe, the parameters of Hell need to be changed. The resident’s committee that interviews would be tenants needs to reconsider their criteria. Otherwise Heaven is only going to be populated by a few religious figures, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and all the Lassies.

Sorry, this has been an odd post after so many months. So much happening that I can’t blog, but I’m going to end on a moral as usual, I think sometimes we forget the good that we are. It’s easy to consider the mistakes that we make and the wrongs that we’ve done and overlook the positives. Always remember the positives.

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