Saturday, August 15, 2009


When I was a kid I was told a metaphor about heaven. It was something like this.

"I was shown a vision and I saw this gigantic table laid out with the most incredible feast and all of these people are sitting around the table. They're trying to eat but they have splints on their hands, forcing their arms to stay rigid and straight, and so they cannot bring the food to their mouths. The people try and try but can't bring this incredible food to their mouths, and so they are starving. And I realized this is hell.

"Then I saw another vision and there was again a huge table with a fabulous feast laid out, and again people sitting around the table and again with splints on their arms. I thought it was hell again until I realized that these people were managing to eat, and they were very happy. They were picking up food with their hands and then feeding each other. And I realized this was heaven."

Ok, now this is of course a pretty bizarre version of heaven, but I kind of got the point - in heaven people care for others and so all benefit, in hell people care for only themselves and so all suffer. But then I started to think a little more about heaven, as described here. You can' reach your body, in most ways, with your hands and so your neighbor helps you and you help them. Ok. But what else do you have to do with your hands that your neighbor has to help with, and you have to help them with?

"I can't reach this itch on my back, can you scratch it?"
"Of course, God be praised, I'm delighted to help you, brother."

"Oh dear, praise the Lord, my hair is all messy, can you help me comb it?"
"In the name of our Saviour I am pleased to offer you this service"

"In the name of God, I've got quite a cold! Can you hold this tissue while I blow my nose?"
"Errr, uhm, Blessed Mary protect us, I guess so"

"I've got a bit of diarrhea from all that rich food you've been helping me eat, by all that's Holy, and I can't really reach to wipe. Would you have pity on this poor sinner?"
"What!? Fuck that shit! Send me to hell!"

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