Every day at CCC is different. One never knows what sort cool stuff is going to be brought into the shop nor what sort of things are going to brought up for discussion. Recently there has been some religious / philosophical discussions… particularly discussions about what happens after death. I was raised Roman Catholic so the concepts of heaven and hell are pretty deep seeded in my mind but I have also read a great deal and viewed a great many programs on this subject (if you get the chance to watch an episode of “Night Gallery” titled “Hells Bells” it has a very unique take on the subject and one that, I must admit, seems the most appropriate at least in my mind). with these recent discussions in mind I have decided to share a VERY short story I wrote a few years back on this very subject. I hope at least a few of you enjoy it.
By Tom Mattevi
So this was it, eh? I must say I wasn’t much impressed. I would have expected more, but it was actually pretty plain. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice, tidy and big, very big, it’s just, I was expecting something more. There were lots of people. In fact everyone was here. Well nearly everyone. But it wasn’t crowded and everyone was happy, well relatively.
Oh sorry, I guess you’re wondering what I’m going on about; “ The after life”. You know; heaven, paradise, the final reward, whatever euphemism you prefer. Did I forget to mention I’m dead! Oh yeah, I am. No big deal actually. I led a pretty good life and then one day I’m driving down the road on a beautiful winter afternoon and a semi hit a patch of ice. Let me tell you, when a Ford Tempo and a Peterbilt go head to head put your money on the semi every time. So the next thing I know I’m hovering above the scene thinking “Hey how did I get up here?” It took a few minutes to figure it out and once it sunk in I felt kind of bad. Not for myself but for everyone else. They gave me a real good send off. There were flowers and friends at the calling hours. There were people I hadn’t seen in years. What a shame that they didn’t come visit while I was alive; still it was nice of them to show up at all. I guess you never know how popular you are until you’re dead. All this time I had been accompanied by Fred, you know to kind of show me the ropes. Fred was like my guardian angel, in fact I think during my life that’s exactly what he was but he doesn’t like to discuss it. Anyhow Fred was there right from the start showing me the dos and don’ts of the afterlife. So when my body was finally laid to rest Fred escorted me here. I could have come immediately but I wanted to hang around a bit and Fred said that it was acceptable.
Like I said before I wasn’t that impressed. My first thoughts were mostly disappointment. No “Pearly Gates”, no robes and beards, no harps and wings, no fluffy clouds. It was really not much different then earthly life, except for…well the happiness level. Everyone was given one. You see there really was no heaven and hell, per se; there was only your happiness level. The better the person… the higher the happiness level. I guess this is going to be a hard concept to present because happiness is just so hard to define. When a person has a low happiness level it doesn’t mean that they go around crying all day, or that they physically suffer in any manner, it just means that their capacity for happiness can never be filled. They can still laugh at jokes (yes we still tell them…Two seraphim and a cherub go walking into a bar…never mind, you probably already heard it!) and feel good, they just can’t be as happy as some with higher levels. I guess the best analogy is comparing it to going to school. A child in the first grade, even a very bright child, cannot begin to understand third or fourth grade level education let alone college. They don’t feel bad for it as they are doing what they can at their grade and fulfilled, they just don’t understand. So it is for those with a low happiness level, they will never understand and enjoy full happiness. The difference is, here you are aware of your level and what you are missing. So if there is a “hell” as such it is knowing that you will not be able to attain a higher level of happiness then your level. For some people it isn’t that big a deal as even a level one is fairly happy. In fact during your average day most people linger somewhere around level three. It is only at certain events or special moments that the happiness potential rises. About the highest level I’ve come in contact with is a nineteen but I’m told it can go higher, I don’t know why it would have a need. No one else knows what your level is although even I can pick out the level ones and level twos but anything above a three and I don’t have a clue. Fred says he can recognize up to about a level six but after that even he can’t tell. Not that it matters to anyone except the individual who has the level. Let me also mention that your level of happiness in life is in no way connected with the level you get assigned here. A life of unhappiness doesn’t automatically get a reward here nor does a life of happiness get a punishment. It is what you did with your life that gets you your level. I won’t go into what level I am, suffice to say I feel it is more than adequate for my needs and that I must have led a better life then I’d imagined. We have no other real differences. Anyone can go anywhere and do anything they’d like with no restrictions. Again some enjoy things more then others as your happiness usually dictates how much you enjoy something but your happiness level does not restrict you in any other way.
One of the best things is everyone you meet, because everyone who has ever lived is here. My first few days were taken up with seeing relatives and friends who got here before me and catching up on things although they were aware of what has transpired on earth since their passing. When I say we can go anywhere it does include back to earth. We just can’t interact with those who haven’t passed to this side. We also get regular updates through a sort of news service. It covers everything from universal down to personal family updates. Even though my passing was rather unexpected, the relatives put together a fairly lavish welcoming party. Relatives I never even knew I had were there to welcome me and introduce themselves. It was very nice.
Getting around up here is great, all you have to do is think of something or someplace and you are there. If you want to go see someone you just think of him or her and you are there. Now I don’t mean a passing thought I mean you have to particularly think “I want to see…. whoever” or “I want to go…wherever” and you are suddenly there. Going someplace posed no problem right from the start, but going to see someone was a little intimidating because I feared just showing up in front of someone might be a little rude. Especially if the person was busy at that particular moment. But it turns out to never be a problem. Everyone is always happy to see everyone else even if they don’t know you. And there is no such thing as a bad time as no one has to bathe, eat, sleep, evacuate (look it up). We have all the time in the world so our time is not of so much a matter. Something else I learned is that there is no such thing as “rude” here. I mean you can’t be rude! Rude does not exist. In life I could be quite rude when I wanted but here I can’t. I guess what I mean is I have not wanted to be and no one has been rude to me so I guess it doesn’t exist. I’ve gotten to sit down and chat with some of the greatest people in history and they all treated me with courtesy and respect, even some of the ones that our history tells us were stinkers. By the way Attilla The Hun’s middle name wasn’t really “The” but “Allan” go figure. Anyway he was very cordial and quite happy to chat with me, which brings up another point, communication. Everyone speaks the same language, or at least understands each other. It is very pre-Tower of Babel here. I’ve met people from every part of the earth and had no trouble understanding them or making myself understood by them. I’m also a little unclear about personal perception but there seems to be some difference in it up here. It seems that we perceive and are perceived in different ways. What I mean is when I meet with someone I knew earth side I see them in the manner that I am most familiar with but that is not how others might perceive them. Case in point, my grand parents. I viewed them as I remembered them, a couple in their early 70s but I know for a fact that my uncle see them (his parents) as only in their 40s. Thus we perceive them as each of us remembers them. Now when you meet someone that you have no previous perceptions of I think you view them, as they perceive themselves. Even though I had seen many pictures of Leonardo Da Vinci I had no real, locked in, notion of how he looked and thus he looked considerably different then I might have thought. I can’t help but wonder how I looked to him.
I guess you noticed that I haven’t made any mention of the management of the place. By management I, of course, mean Supreme Being, and support staff. I guess that is because I was totally blown away by it. The Supreme Being is just that…Supreme! Just as you would imagine he is in total control and with the various “angels” they pretty much run things here. Since I was raised Catholic my conceptions are Holy Trinity and angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, etc) but I believe that your spiritual background dictates the perception of these beings when you run into them. And that is another beautiful thing; you actually do just run into them sometimes. “GOD” isn’t cloistered away meeting only with the high muckety mucks, he actually is out walking amongst the common folks talking, laughing, and completely at ease. It takes a little getting used to but after a while you are just as ease about it all as well.
Well I guess that is about it. I’ve probably told you more than I should and let’s face it, more then you want to believe, so I’m off to a party. One of my third cousin’s will be arriving in about an hour and we gotta get the decorations up.
I’ll see you soon….REALLY!