March 13, 2018 by lucieromarin
An impious opinionatrix remarked on the words in the previous post, “…but I do want to see him in Heaven.” She suggested that this was either a capitulation (only hellfire is good enough for him and I should stand my ground and say so,) or a kind of narrative delusion (you can’t admit the relationship is over, so you transfer your desire for a happy ending to an imaginary future.) No positive interpretation was submitted as a possibility.
“Why would you even want to see him in Heaven?” she asked.
“Because,” I answered, “in Heaven, not only will he be completely repentant and wanting to do whatever it takes to make me happy; his body will be impassible, so nothing will be able hurt it, so it won’t be a sin for me to punch him in the face.”
I added, “If you were less of a heathen and more of a Thomist you would know this.”
I did take the ideas away, though, and I thought about them.
I dismissed her first point immediately on the grounds of its hypocrisy. If I had written in savage terms about his eternally-roasting carcass, she would have been the first (or one of the top three, anyway) to say Calm Down and What a Mean God to Make Such a Big Fire. As I didn’t write it, God was suddenly not mean enough, and I was the oppressed person who couldn’t throw a brick on the barbecue.
I could admit the possibility of the second point, though. Even if we start with the assumption that Heaven is real, it is at least theoretically possible to deploy the idea of it either well or badly – same as anything. The idea of it, inspiring in some lights, could become a kind of fatalism in others. And I do think that, for one healing from a lost friendship, care must be taken lest over-thinking the future reunion prevents the necessary present-moment letting-go.
I do not know what it would be like to believe that a happy ending was impossible. I briefly considered running a thought-experiment and spending a day living as though I did not believe in an afterlife. Two seconds of that experiment showed me that it was better for society that I believe in an eventual accountability for my deeds. I am quite aware that the world is happily populated with the ethically irreligious. I am not as they are.
My interlocutor was wrong to leap to her (coughagenda-drivencough) conclusion that my deployment of an idea must necessarily be bad, but she wouldn’t have been wrong to wonder where it came from. So, I thought it would be worth stating that, while of course what’s left of his directee wants a happy ending, it should be clear that what’s left of his directee co-exists in this multi-faceted soul with a casualty, a survivor, and – here’s an idea – aspects of personality that have nothing to do with him at all.
My wish to see him in Heaven is not, primarily, a statement about him, but about God. It doesn’t really give me mushy feelings. At times, I would prefer to be able to tell God who to exclude from the shining ranks. Outside of those moments, though, I see that I could believe in a God by whom all manner of things will be well, or I could believe in a God by whom all manner of things will not be well. I prefer to align myself with the former belief and order my actions and ambitions to its end.
I believe that this choice is logically defensible, but this was meant to be a postscript, and I have an assignment to write, so it will be defended on another day!