It has been said that when you go to Heaven, if there is in fact such a place, you will be eternally happy. Everything you've ever wanted and everyone you've ever loved will be right there with you, forever. When you go to Hell--quite the opposite. I have to wonder, though. Who can for sure say what comes after death? I guess that's what it means to have faith. I'm not sure if the Heaven and Hell talked about in religions are real but I think humans are able to experience them regardless.
There is an old story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek, that centers on Peyton Farquhar, a southern planter who, while not a Confederate Soldier, is about to be hanged by the Union Army for attempting to destroy the railroad bridge at Owl Creek. As Farquhar stands on the bridge with a noose around his neck, the reader is lead to believe that the rope breaks and that Farquhar falls into the water below, only to escape to his farm, where he is reunited with his wife. It is revealed at the end of the story, however, that Farquhar has, in fact, been hanged and that these imaginings took place in the seconds before his death.
What power the human mind has. In the moments before someone dies the mind can allow the person to see anything. Using memories and ideas it can even generate an entire life. The mind has the power to give the person everything they've ever wanted.
But at the same time the mind is a double-edged sword. Although it is possible for the mind to bring a person monumental happiness it is just as possible the exact opposite could happen. However real joy may feel in the false world of the mind, terror or sorrow has the potential to feel equally real. In the throws of death every fear ever felt may be dredged up from the subconscious and manifested internally.
What I'm trying to get at is this: Heaven and Hell may exist one way or another. Even if they aren't where we're headed after death, they can still be waiting for us during it.
The topic of religion is an interesting one itself. I could debate and discuss it for hours (and I have) but that isn't the purpose of this little passage. This was merely a thought that has been floating around upstairs and I wanted to share it. I hope nothing I said above offended but if so, I'm sorry.
Note: I posted this on MySpace a couple of years ago so it may be old news to some of you. I just wanted to resurrect it and bring it to a slightly different crowd. Re-reading it, I feel like it is incomplete. I think I need to expand on some ideas and clarify others. Maybe one of these days when I'm feeling ambitious. Until then--