Here is a story that is often shared around the campfires of my summers up north...
There was once a boy who was deathly afraid of dying.
He had been going to church with his family, and as most kids who spent their Sunday mornings in Sunday School, he wasn't sitting well with the idea
that depending on how he behaved, he could end up suffering forever and ever in eternal pain.
God felt the boy's distress, and decided to show him exactly what Heaven and Hell really are.
He first took the boy to hell.
Expecting to see lakes of fire and hear deafening screaming, the boy was utterly surprised to see a giant dinner table. Everyone was sitting eagerly
around the table, ready to dig in to what appeared to be a giant feast. As the servants brought out the platters and lifted the lids, the boy was
astounded to see that these souls that were supposed to be being punished were about to indulge in what looked like the biggest, fanciest, most
delicious feast ever conceived.
As they picked up their cutlery in their hands and began going for the food, the boy noticed something bizarre about the people sitting around the
table. As they dug their forks into the food, he noticed that their arms had no joints at the elbow- they were unable to bend their arms in any way...
making it impossible for them to direct their forks into their mouths.
The boy watched as the people furiously tried to feed themselves, but were unable to put their food anywhere near their mouths. They began shouting
out in frustration and agony, unable to enjoy the most marvelous feast ever created.
Suddenly, God took the boy away from the disastrous feast, and took him to heaven.
Instead of clouds, harps, and St Peter at the giant golden gate, the boy was astounded to see a familiar setting: in heaven, he saw the exact same
giant dining table he had seen in hell, with exactly the same feast being prepared.
Just as the people in hell, however, the people in heaven also had no joints in their elbows, and thus were unable to feed themselves. This time
though, as the people began to dig their forks into their meal, instead of trying and failing to feed themselves, they began to feed each other.
The boy felt a sense of peace and awe as he saw the people in heaven reaching their un-bendable arms across the table to feed their fellow friends,
and the feast was a marvelous success, and the atmosphere one of total joy, love, and happiness.
God then returned the boy to his bed, and the boy fell asleep in peace... knowing that heaven was something more than being in service to God- it was
a place of being in service to others.
This story always makes we wonder that if we all, in the metaphorical sense, choose to feed each other instead of ourselves... if the idea of "heaven
on earth" would actually become a reality.
Anyways... hope you enjoyed