The French Café

There are some really pretty women who go to my church. I wonder how many other men watch them as they go up to communion dressed in anything from jeans to their Sunday finest. I have to let them come into my view and then leave without turning my head or glancing with my eyes, for fear that someone would notice and then I’d be really embarrassed.

Does God get mad at me because my mind wanders to things of the flesh during Mass? Or does He get a kick out of where I find beauty and is happy for me? My wife asked me once about what I think Heaven is like. Here’s what I tried to describe to her.

Imagine a French café, with small, round wrought-iron tables and matching chairs, black and white checkered tablecloths, a thin vase with a single rose on each table, tiny mosaic tiles on the floor, bigger tiles on the wall up to the wainscot, pink paint above that, a few paintings, a moulded plaster ceiling, big fans up there. There’s accordion music coming from one corner. I’m sitting in the café with my spirit friend (for my wife’s sake we’ll say it’s her) discussing the day and in walks Adolf Hitler. He glides up to a table of Jews and says “Did I do okay? Did I play the part well?”

I believe that when our lives are over we – in a spiritual sort of way – get together to discuss the outcomes and the roles that God wanted us to play. I believe that we start out as spiritual beings and pick those roles in order to see what it’s like to “live” them. I will not be surprised to find that I’ve had dozens, hundreds or millions of roles as a bug, a fish, a 13th century slave girl and a 3-legged Arspansian from the planet Greelock. Although I have no interest in dying tomorrow I’m looking forward to the adventure.

What about the truly evil people in this world? What about Adolf Hitler and Attila the Hun and Jeffrey Dahmer? How is justice served up for them? I have an alternate theory as well, and it’s got to do with our spiritual sphere of intimacy. I know that I am happiest with those whom I am most intimate. What could be more intimate than sharing one’s mind and soul? “Good” people who die may have a sphere of intimacy greater than “bad” people who die. In one extreme is God, whose sphere of intimacy encompasses all other spheres (He knows us and we know Him). At the other extreme is the absence of God. A really, really bad person has a zero-radius sphere of intimacy, interacts with no one and is truly, forever, alone.

I’m not sure which of my Heavens is closer to the real thing. The most likely answer is “neither”, but I imagine that it’s a pretty good place regardless.


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