TO END LIKE THIS
by Anton Wills-Eve
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/last-words/”>Last Words</a>
in reply to wordpress prompt, write your last ever blog.
TO END LIKE THIS
The specialist came to my bedside again that morning and she smiled at me in a twisted attempt to be cheerful while failing totally to hide her approaching loss. She had done so much for me, but it was what she had to say that nearly brought a tear.
“I promised I would be honest with you James, and I cannot break my word. I never have in the four years we’ve known each other so why start now? My dear friend, you have about two weeks left at the most and if there is anything you really need to do while you still can then make it today or tomorrow at the latest. After that the strength of pain killers you’ll need will prevent you from writing or possibly even speaking normally. But at least you shouldn’t suffer. I’ll be back later this morning.” And there I lay, alone in my my private ward, with my laptop by my side and the image of someone I had known for fifty years. I had known her since she was five years old, but not seen in the last forty. So as my final act that I had to perform I composed the following email to her.
‘Oh Glen, I know God should have been here as well, and yes I can feel that He is. St.Rita too is always keeping a very close eye on me and fulfilling her promise never to leave me. But it is your face, your smile your complete occupation of my body and soul that is all I am really able to see. So this is the last email I will ever send you, Glen. Don’t keep it to cry over in years to come. No, do something much more important with it. Read it, try to do what it asks, and try to believe that I WILL see you when your earthly life has also run its span.
When you told me, nearly four months ago now, that you no longer believed in God and that this world was all there was, I cried myself to sleep every night for a week. I also prayed so, so hard for St.Rita, God, somebody in Heaven to show me somehow that you had changed your mind. Oh why, Glen? Why? There are only two choices logically possible to us. Either God made us, our souls for Him to love and keep, and our human bodies for us to use to show how much we love Him; or else He did not. One of those two options must be true, Glen, so why on earth would you not at least HOPE that the former is the truth? I can’t prove it to you, no one can. But neither can anyone prove to you empirically that God did not create you. What comfort, what solace of any sort do you get from giving up on the only chance you have ever had, and ever will have, of being granted a place in Heaven if the alternative is so genuinely hopeless and full of absolutely nothing?
You may have had a terribly hard and very sad life, I can think of few biographies more depressing or sad than yours. But in that suffering I can also see is the greatest test of all. Keep on loving God and telling Him you know He has tested you beyond endurance, but still holds you so very close to His heart. He doesn’t give up on those he loves, and He loves you, Glen. Give Him one more chance, please, if only for my sake so that I may die in peace. But don’t lie to me if you answer this. I will pray for you with my last breath.
No matter what you reply, if you reply at all, you cannot stop me hoping that you will again see your creator. Maybe my purgatory is going to be dying without ever knowing for certain whether you have regained your Faith. I can live with that. I suppose I should say ‘die with that’, but I know it won’t be easy. You see, my love, I have one enormous doubt about my own concept of all I have been taught about life after death. It may be so heretical it bars me from paradise too, but I do hope not. You see, Glen, I cannot believe in Hell. It was the French atheist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who described it best. I have never heard an absolutely correct translation of the aphorism on which he based his tenets but approximately it was this. “Hell is other people as they behave here on earth.” Think about it. That sums up my concept of hell perfectly. As Sartre only believed in earthly life then, for him, he could only have been talking about mortal people. That is when people are evil, unspeakably cruel, selfish everything we dislike, despise and condemn in our fellow creatures: when they act in ways we cannot tolerate. That is the great mystery of life whether spiritual or just human, where did the desire to harm and upset others come from? Where, in short, did evil start if God created everything? I don’t know. But I do know one thing. God tests our ability to always love Him, and through Him everyone else no matter how they behave. We may judge men’s earthly actions, but forgiveness is God’s province not ours.
So where do I stand over Hell? I believe it is having to accept the agonising side of life and admitting our own participation in the the pain and sadness that we bring to others. To live with the full realisation of that side of our natures, and have to face God with it when we die is the most terrifying thing that we can experience. And as we deserve it, because we have played out part in being evil, then we must also have deserved all the misery that we have had to go through on earth ourselves. So we come to judgement day, I am obviously here assuming that this happens, but think how God feels when He looks at each single sinner, naked before him, all their evil deeds exposed for everyone to see. What is the only thing God can do? He can weep! Yes,Glen, weep when he sees the sorrow in the faces of those he has created, out of love, finally reduced to a state of abject sorrow at having failed their God so dreadfully.
That, my Glen, is when he puts his arms round us, kisses us, forgives us and offers us heaven forever as His reward. It is the one great mystery that is kept from us, why does this need to happen at all? I don’t know, but then if I did my faith would be a provable fact and not an act of faith. This is my credo when faced with the one side of spiritual creation that I could not otherwise accept. But if God and His saints love me, they understand when I am tottering on the brink of worrying doubt. Every night I thank them for holding me back from falling over the edge. God Bless.’
I did not sign my email, I knew I didn’t have to. True to her words the doctor gradually upped my dose of morphine each day as the pain got worse and my poor family came to see me reduced to such a state. I prayed for them and I prayed for myself and of course I prayed for Glen. Charity is the virtue of living a good life when dealing with others. Faith is the degree of our spiritual belief in and depth of love of God, but the greatest virtue of all is Hope. It is always available and active and will be right up to man’s last breath. I wonder how many more I have?