My name is Seth, and I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. It seems like just a few minutes, but then I have replayed the accident in my head for maybe the millionth time now. I didn’t know I would die that day, it happened so fast. I was just driving along and then I was here. I always assumed the seconds before a horrible car accident would be terrifying, but it happened so fast I honestly never saw it coming. I don’t know what happened to the other driver, but I don’t see anyone else here, at least not nearby.
But am I really dead? It’s so dark here, and there’s no one with me. I mean I can see others, off in the distance, but I can’t reach them. They’re over there, I can see them, or sense them, but I don’t know where they are and I have walked for what seems like miles but I never get any closer. I yelled out a few times, but no one heard me. I didn’t hear me. That’s so strange, I knew I was yelling – as loudly as I can – but even I didn’t hear me. That doesn’t make sense.
What is this place? I definitely feel like I am somewhere, there’s a tangible quality to it, maybe like a small room, yet as far as I walk I do not run into any walls. So it’s expansive, but it feels very small. Almost like it’s closing in on me. Like I am suffocating here; the walls closing in around me…if there were walls…but I can’t find any. And it’s dark. So very dark. And warm. Not hot, just warm. Too warm. Like a sauna maybe, where after a while you feel like you can’t breathe even though you are breathing. But you can’t get enough air and you just want to get out, but the door is locked. Except I can’t even find a door.
So I’m sure I am dead. I always thought when I died there would be a bright light, and Jesus or God or a higher power or maybe Buddha or an angel or someone to lead me to eternal happiness. After all, that’s what I saw on TV or read in a book. And I was a darned good person. I mean, I wasn’t one of those churchy guys, you know the type, always reading their Bibles and pretending to be better than everyone else. No, that wasn’t me, church is for weak-minded people. I rose above that. And I gave money to charity…well, not as much as I reported to the IRS, but everyone exaggerates a little when it comes to the government…and I helped people when I could. I was a pretty good husband, and not a bad father, either.
I have kids. Two beautiful kids. Oh do I miss my kids. I wish I could just reach out and hold them right now. I’ve only been here a few minutes, I think, but it seems like an eternity since I’ve held them or played with them. Wait…I can see them. I’m sure of it. Yes, there they are, right over there.
“Here I am, here I am. Kids, Daddy’s right here!”
Why don’t they hear me?
“Kids, kids, I’m right here!”
I run and run and run towards them but they don’t hear me and I don’t get any closer. I’m trying so hard but I just can’t reach them. I just want to hold them, just want to see their smiles. I bet they’d be so happy to see their dad again. Why are they so far away?
I’m so lonely. So alone. In the dark. And it’s too warm. How long have I been here? It seems like forever but maybe it’s only been a few minutes. But it has to be longer than that. I’ve lost any sense of time now. I just feel alone. I am a social person; I love being around people. That’s why I went into sales. That’s why I built such a social network around me. I just never had to worry about finding something to do. My wife was so good about staying home with the kids while I went out with my friends. She understood my social nature and tolerated it so well. Except the time she found out I kissed that girl from accounting under the mistletoe at the company Christmas party. I mean, nothing more happened, it was just a friendly kiss, but she sure was mad. But eventually she forgave me. And why not? I’m a good man. But why am I sitting here in the dark, where it’s too warm, all by myself, feeling so lonely? Solitary confinement, I can’t imagine anything worse.
That’s it, I’m going to get out of here. There, that way, I see a light. I’ll walk to it. But I have been walking, for hours I think, or maybe days, weeks, or months. I’m just not sure. I hurt inside. It’s not a physical pain, I just hurt. Way deep down inside. When I was five years old, I got trapped in a dark room by myself when the door locked and my parents couldn’t find the key. I cried and screamed and panicked, it was dark and I was alone and I just wanted my mom and I couldn’t get to her. It took them 3 or 4 minutes to find the key and rescue me. This feels like that, only worse. Much worse. And more intense. I long for something, or someone, or someplace, but I am not sure what it is I long for. There’s just this intense, unending longing. And it hurts. It hurts so much. And I’m crying.
“Mommy! Mommy! I want my mommy!”
My mom. She was one of those churchy people. I hated her for that. Always preaching the Bible at me. Guess what, Mom? You weren’t perfect. If you were, maybe Dad wouldn’t have left us, you know. She always made me get dressed up for church. I really hated going and she knew it. But she made me go anyway, she didn’t want me to turn out like my father, she would say. She made me sit still while the preacher talked about stuff I didn’t understand. Why are you making me sit through this, Mom? Maybe she deserved the cancer that took her life for making me sit there. Oh…I guess I shouldn’t think that way. But who cares now.
I’m still walking towards that light. It’s so far away. And this pain inside. It surges, throbs, stabs and tears at me as I pine for someone, anyone, something to end this heartache. I feel friendless. Alone. So alone. What is missing? What is it I keep yearning for? It’s got to be there, over there, in that light. I’m close enough now, I can see. Yes, I can see. There are people in that light. Who is that?
Mom! It’s my mom! And see how happy she is!
“Mom! Mom! It’s me! I’m over here. Mom!”
Who is that with her? That man in the robe. Such a bright white robe. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s whiter than the clouds, brighter than the sun. They look so happy together. So pure. So joyous. And I can see them. I’m trying to join them, running as fast as I can, but I just can’t get there. There’s something between us, I don’t know what, but I can’t get to them. And then they’re gone.
And I’m alone again. And it’s dark. And it’s too warm. And there’s this pain.
My name is Seth, and I’m not sure how long I’ve been here…
Hell is a real place. And some people will end up there when they die. The Bible says there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there (Matthew 25:30). So don’t end up like Seth. In that dark abyss known as hell. There is but one way to be certain you won’t be going there. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) and “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10). Won’t you confess your wrongs and ask God to help you today?
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