Leaving a Lasting Legacy

It was my first time in Mindanao. It was supposed to be a business trip mixed with some personal R&R but it turned out to be a personal journey witnessing a life-changing event for a friend.

We knew his father was in the hospital but we pushed on with our agenda. When we emerged successful, we were ecstatic and grateful although a bit sad that he couldn’t be with us. He was our key. As it turned out, he has secured our future.

In the middle of dinner, we were told there was an emergency. And in the dead of the night we rushed to his side. We were literally flying at speeds of almost 160kph, traversing dark roads to get to the hospital in time.

Along the way, I learned that he was gone but I dare not tell it to my friend who was driving for fear of upsetting him. When we arrived, I prepared myself to be strong for what I knew lies ahead.

It was an unexpected death- one no one saw coming. We knew he was sick but there were so many plans that we made involving him, it was hard to imagine.

While it was hard for me to swallow, I can’t begin to imagine how it must be for my friend who never really saw it coming. I can’t begin to imagine how it must be for my friend’s mother who loved Tito so much, her life was literally intertwined with his.

I have only witnessed two deaths – my lola and my friend’s father. All the other deaths I’ve seen are when the body is already in the casket.

The sadness was in the air. It was past midnight yet there were a lot of people by the hospital’s crying room. Everyone was recounting the last moments with Tito. I looked at my friend. Despite the tears in his eyes, I saw the determination – the determination to continue his father’s legacy.

LEGACY

Sir Daniel Ines is known for being a hard working man. At age 60, he still took the bar exam and most probably would pass when the results are released later this year. This was his second time to take the exam. Having failed his first attempt at the Bar did not deter him from taking it again in order to become a lawyer. This is despite having an already successful CPA practice both as a private auditor and a COA auditor.

I learned that he has served in 10 municipalities and cities around Sultan Kudarat as a COA (Commission on Audit) Auditor. He also teaches at a local college and is active in the church leadership. He has raised a family of 7 with 5 kids, three of whom are boys. One has become a CPA just like him.

We spent days planning our itinerary but at the last minute it turned out to be something we didn’t expect nor hoped for. We spent the time helping our friend prepare for the wake that would definitely be jampacked with people – people he has touched and helped throughout the years.

As I assisted in the preparations and watched the people around me, the stories I heard about him made me admire Tito for the man he really is. The short time I have spent with him, I was already amazed by his wisdom and the dedication he displayed. I had looked forward to learning more from him but God had other plans. Now, all I can do was listen to others stories about him.

Yet, even in his death, he has taught me a very valuable lesson. A life that is lived excellently, working tirelessly and dedicatedly, without looking at what others would say or seeking the applause of men, will earn you the greatest reward of all.

Every person I spoke with will tell me that Tito is now in a better place. And they say it with conviction. Behind the pain and sadness in their eyes, there is peace in their spirit that their loved one, is enjoying his just reward in Heaven.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

And that is the kind of life I want to live.

Advertisements

A Good Life, A Good Death

I’ve always believed that there’s a good way to die. You can die by an accident or by a disease or illness but there’s always a better way. And that is to die in your sleep.

And then there’s a great way to be buried. I’ve encountered many deaths in the family – of aunts and uncles- and the state of the wake and burial has always been the same. There’s the casket, the wake and the traditions around it and then the mass before the burial.

Witnessing all this time and time again made me think — I want something different. Even in death I wanted something else.

I don’t want people to see me in a casket. I don’t want their last memory of me to be a dead body in a box. I want them to remember how I looked when I was fully alive. I also want a memorial service where people would speak about me – tell their personal stories of our encounters and remember me with songs and eulogies.

I envision my wake and burial to be a series of nights, with the people I know and loved present, gazing at my many photos and speaking (hopefully good) things about me. Of course no casket should be present for my remains are now in an urn.

Most of all, though there is grief and sadness because I won’t be with them anymore, I hope there will be joy that I am now where I’ve always longed to be – heaven.

Last week, I had the chance to witness the kind of death and burial I wanted. The person also lived a life worth emulating. She died in her sleep, fully prepared to meet her Maker and Savior. When she left earth she was able to lead a well-lived life having inspired hundreds, probably thousands, of people.

Dr. Eva Villanueva, known to me as Tita Eva, was a kind, old lady I met when I was in 4th year college. She was the CRL Council Chair and I was a student elder. For one year, we worked together in the council bringing about change in the church.

She was the one who taught me how to take down minutes of a meeting properly along the way inculcating in my mind the value of excellence at work. She taught me how to aim for perfection but be gracious when mistakes are made. She taught me that in my quest for excellence, I am allowed to make mistakes but I must learn from them.

She was the proponent of UPCYM’s Buffet Ministry. A food feeding program which gives free lunch and dinner to qualified students. I remember clearly during one council meeting, she announced that she was shocked that there are students who ate only one meal a day – those meals being only bread and instant noodles. I told her how true it was – me being one of those students. She was aghast and unable to believe the fact. Promptly she committed to sending me nutritious and well-prepared food every day until I graduated. Ate Mara, her maid, would bring me food every other day that are balanced and would last me for two days. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner – occasionally snacks and even dessert.

Her meals helped me get by through the most tedious moments of my college life. It was my final year and times were tought. When I asked her how I can ever repay her, she said — don’t pay me. Pay it forward. 

Tita Eva has taught me the value of generosity. She taught me how pay it forward works and how to give without expecting anything in return. In a world where people are more concerned about their own welfare, she showed me how to be genuinely concerned for others.

As Carissa, her granddaughter said, Tita Eva showed us how simplicity and humility goes a long way. Tta Eva could buy anything she wants. She’s a rich lady. But she was always frugal and bought only simple things. She did not spend frivolously.

And because of these, she has learned to be generous. To put others before her needs.

Until the end, Tita Eva served the Lord. Her pastor shared how committed she was to teach the Senior Citizen Bible Study even after having been advised by her doctor to take it easy.

Tita Eva led a life well-lived. And until the end, people remembered her for the kind of lady she was – generous, loving, simple, elegant and God-fearing.

I can imagine God telling her, “well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Reflections On Friendship

Today I lost a friend. He was battling leukemia. The news came as a shock because I was just asked to pray a few minutes before I was eventually informed that he didn’t make it. He was young. He didn’t seem the likely candidate for the sickness; let alone death. 

Although I know he is now in heaven with Jesus still I feel the grief of someone who just lost a dear loved one. 

Yet the curious thing about this is that, although he was a friend and we did spend time together back in college, he wasn’t really what I’ll call a dear friend. I knew him but we weren’t really close. Under normal circumstances we will never really meet again unless there’s a reunion of sorts. 

I don’t even really follow his Facebook feeds. 

Which leads me to ask: of my thousand plus friends in Facebook, how many are people I will really see again in this lifetime? Facebook calls them my friends but I know for a fact only a handful fits the description. Which begs the question – what are friends really? 

I’ve had people who were close to me at one point in my life. We shared so many things you would think we would be unseparable. But life happens and we both spread our wings and flew to where our destinies will lead us. As time passed and life took its natural course, we lost touch save for the occassional chit chat in Facebook. 

Then I have friends also who I may not really have been close with – merely shared bits and pieces of myself. But as the years passed, the tidbits accumulated and soon we find ourselves in constant contact 10+ years down the road. 

Friendship is a curious thing for me. Time in this world is so finite to meet all the past friends who’ve been a part of my life and to meet new people to forge relationships with. 

If you’re that friend who I spent an incredibly close season of my life with but now life has drifted us apart, I want you to know how grateful I am for that season we shared. And though we try our best to meet, I think for the moment we have to accept the course that life leads us to. 

If you’re that friend who, despite the years, I’ve seen and continued to share bits and pieces of my life with I’d like to think you’re a friend who’s here to stay. For despite the seasons of our lives, we’ve managed to always bridge the gap and find, whatever precious little time we can spare to connect. 

And if you are that friend who, as of this moment, the one I share my life with; the one who knows so much about my day to day life, then I hope that life will lead us to remain friends for years to come despite the separate directions we may take in the future. And if life chose to bring us apart then know that I treasure every moment we now spend together. 

I don’t think it will be physically possible for me to reconnect with all my friends in this lifetime. I have to accept that majority I may no longer really see. Before, when Facebook was still new, I would post in each friend’s individual wall a holiday greeting followed by a follow-up chikka question. But as my friend list grew that became insanely impossible. 

But there is still hope. If one day, when the time comes, I’ll see all this friends I care about in heaven. Where forever exist, where time becomes immaterial and where there are countless opportunities to catch up, relive old memories and forge new ones. 

So friend, I sure hope I see you in heaven someday. Getting there is easy. It’s a matter of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

But then again, this is just my belief. My faith. I cannot force you into it. And if you know me well enough, I will never force this on you. Yes I want to see you in heaven but I won’t force you to believe what I believe. 

I can only share what I know. It’s still your decision. But know this – I love you no matter what you choose. 

SUICIDE – How I Overcome It: My #Y Personal Catharsis Series

The main overriding theme of #Y was suicide. When I asked the director why he made a film about suicide – and if that is really the norm in my generation – he straightforwardly answered YES. Studying in the U-Belt area, he claimed that it was a normal occurrence for a student to simply jump off the building. In fact, the number of students who commit suicide are never really reported for most of these kids belong to well-known families who would rather keep everything private.

Come to think of it, suicide is a tough thing to deal with. From the person attempting to commit it to the people left behind after the act. So many questions. So few answers.

It appears that despite the socially connected world we live in, we still suffer from isolation.

Continue reading “SUICIDE – How I Overcome It: My #Y Personal Catharsis Series”

Heaven Is For Real

Is Heaven Real?

Growing up, I have always known that there is Heaven and there is Hell. We were even taught there is purgatory. As I got wiser, I started to question what I was taught. I started to research for myself the reality of the concepts I was led to believe.

For one thing, I knew there is no purgatory. The Bible doesn’t mention it. And the teachings all point to just two possible after life destinations – Heaven or Hell.

But is Heaven just a concept? Is it merely a state of being after death wherein heave would pertain to peace and Hell would pertain to, well, Hell.

I believe not.

Ever since I became sure I was going to Heaven, naturally, I wanted to know what was there. Don’t get me wrong. I love life and I celebrate the life I live here on Earth. But just the same, I was curious as well as excited to go to Heaven.

And so began my research – reading books mostly – on what Heave is like. Many are based on the Bible with some base on those who had their experience of Heaven.

Continue reading “Heaven Is For Real”

Not Afraid to Die

 

 

I think I don’t know how to grieve too well. Or maybe I am already made of ice and as such is able to treat all emotions with a critical eye. 
My grandfather just died. Although I am not utterly close to him, I know I should still feel some pang of sadness or grief. But I am afraid that my emotions are just close to numb – nothing; neutral. I do not feel anything. I have not even shed a tear. I am more concerned about what would happen to the family now that he is gone – will his siblings finally voice out against his wife? Will chaos ensue now that the pillar is gone? Furthermore I am relieved that his suffering has ended. 
In the past weeks, his life has been mercilessly extended by modern medical equipments – whereas in the past he should have been dead at the start of the month, thanks to medical inventions, he managed to live till the end of the month. But then the amount of discomfort and pain to him must have been great – not to mention the embarrassment he must have endured or the anxiety he must have felt over his situation. Embarrassed because his kids who needs to look after him were able to see him naked – changing diapers and clothes – and anxiety because he knows all the medical attention he is receiving is expensive and costly. 
I know my grandfather wasn’t senile when he died. There were just a lot of complications in his body like difficulty in breathing ultimately resulting to his inability to talk and express himself. They even said that there were times wherein he would fight off the nurse who administers his suero – I guess he was already resisting medication. And so to me, it is good that he is dead. That he now rests in peace. And maybe that’s why I cannot grieve like the rest. 
This year, or maybe the past couple of months, a lot of people I personally know, and not personally know, have passed from this world. My grand aunt, that is my grandfather’s older sister died last December. She was somehow close to me when I was in high school but even then I knew she was already suffering from the complications of diabetes. Not only that she has had a lot of emotional baggage caused about by the inattention of her children and the over attention of her siblings. So it was a relief for her to die. Then came January, one of the persons I considered a lola because she cared for me when I was young, also passed away. She was also suffering from the complications of diabetes but unfortunately she doesn’t have the money to access sufficient medical care to alleviate her situation. So it was again a relief for her to die. And then I have a friend, who was suffering from leukemia. She had to undergo several chemotheraphy sessions and apparently that was still no guarantee of her wellness. Just when everyone thought she was ok and recovering, the disease struck again and before further medications could be made, she was dead. Again, it was a relief for her to die for she won’t have to suffer anymore. 
And then there are the more famous deaths of Michael Jackson, which has been ruled as a homicide lately, and not suicide as suspected and the recent death of Pres. Cory Aquino, which took from the country one of the greatest president’s it has ever known (according to the tributes). For MJ, I do not know if it was a relief for him to die but for Cory, I know it was. She was also suffering before her death. Apparently, death appears to be a relief from suffering. Not just physical suffering but emotional ones as well. 
Death is an escape from this imperfect world into the after life beyond. Of course the only people who could be confident of their deaths are the ones who know what lies beyond this life. People who are unaware of what waits for them after death tend to be scared of dying. Well, I know where I’ll go when I die. And I am not afraid to die. 
In fact for me, to die is gain. I have longed for death for a long time. Sometimes I can’t help but envy the dying. Sometimes I want to already write my “death” note. Take note, I do not refer to a suicide note. Even if I want to die badly, I do not want to invite death at my doorstep. I do not want to hasten what is not yet it’s time. And don’t misunderstand me, I love life. I enjoy my life and I am not immensely unhappy. I have my own shares of life’s burdens but they are not enough to make me want quit life altogether.
But then death is altogether better than what I have now. For when I die, I will be with Him. Forever.
For my other views on death, you may want to check out:

I think I don’t know how to grieve too well. Or maybe I am already made of ice and as such is able to treat all emotions with a critical eye. 

 

My grandfather just died. Although I am not utterly close to him, I know I should still feel some pang of sadness or grief. But I am afraid that my emotions are just close to numb – nothing; neutral. I do not feel anything. I have not even shed a tear. I am more concerned about what would happen to the family now that he is gone – will his siblings finally voice out against his wife? Will chaos ensue now that the pillar is gone? Furthermore I am relieved that his suffering has ended. 

 

In the past weeks, his life has been mercilessly extended by modern medical equipments – whereas in the past he should have been dead at the start of the month, thanks to medical inventions, he managed to live till the end of the month. But then the amount of discomfort and pain to him must have been great – not to mention the embarrassment he must have endured or the anxiety he must have felt over his situation. Embarrassed because his kids who needs to look after him were able to see him naked – changing diapers and clothes – and anxiety because he knows all the medical attention he is receiving is expensive and costly. 

 

I know my grandfather wasn’t senile when he died. There were just a lot of complications in his body like difficulty in breathing ultimately resulting to his inability to talk and express himself. They even said that there were times wherein he would fight off the nurse who administers his suero – I guess he was already resisting medication. And so to me, it is good that he is dead. That he now rests in peace. And maybe that’s why I cannot grieve like the rest. 

 

This year, or maybe the past couple of months, a lot of people I personally know, and not personally know, have passed from this world. My grand aunt, that is my grandfather’s older sister died last December. She was somehow close to me when I was in high school but even then I knew she was already suffering from the complications of diabetes. Not only that she has had a lot of emotional baggage caused about by the inattention of her children and the over attention of her siblings. So it was a relief for her to die. Then came January, one of the persons I considered a lola because she cared for me when I was young, also passed away. She was also suffering from the complications of diabetes but unfortunately she doesn’t have the money to access sufficient medical care to alleviate her situation. So it was again a relief for her to die. And then I have a friend, who was suffering from leukemia. She had to undergo several chemotheraphy sessions and apparently that was still no guarantee of her wellness. Just when everyone thought she was ok and recovering, the disease struck again and before further medications could be made, she was dead. Again, it was a relief for her to die for she won’t have to suffer anymore. 

 

And then there are the more famous deaths of Michael Jackson, which has been ruled as a homicide lately, and not suicide as suspected and the recent death of Pres. Cory Aquino, which took from the country one of the greatest president’s it has ever known (according to the tributes). For MJ, I do not know if it was a relief for him to die but for Cory, I know it was. She was also suffering before her death. Apparently, death appears to be a relief from suffering. Not just physical suffering but emotional ones as well. 

 

Death is an escape from this imperfect world into the after life beyond. Of course the only people who could be confident of their deaths are the ones who know what lies beyond this life. People who are unaware of what waits for them after death tend to be scared of dying. Well, I know where I’ll go when I die. And I am not afraid to die. 

 

In fact for me, to die is gain. I have longed for death for a long time. Sometimes I can’t help but envy the dying. Sometimes I want to already write my “death” note. Take note, I do not refer to a suicide note. Even if I want to die badly, I do not want to invite death at my doorstep. I do not want to hasten what is not yet it’s time. And don’t misunderstand me, I love life. I enjoy my life and I am not immensely unhappy. I have my own shares of life’s burdens but they are not enough to make me want quit life altogether.

 

But then death is altogether better than what I have now. For when I die, I will be with Him. Forever.

 

For my other views on death, you may want to check out:

Heavier than Heaven

If Heaven is an ocean,
Then you are its gentlest swirl;
The world would be an oyster,
And you are its pearl.
 

If the daylight has its own beauty
Then you are the rainbow’s hue.
Always an inspiring vision to behold,
Always a breathtaking view.
 

If the night sky has its starlight,
Then you are a shooting star,
Whom everybody catches
Even when viewed from afar.
 

If love is defined as perfect
Then I’d rather have it as you.
Like the symmetry of prose
Or the beauty of a rose, just to name a few.
 

26But despite all this, I can never truly tell
That everything would go fine and well.
Thinking of what would I mean to you,
I’ll be forever trapped, trapped beneath the blue.
 
 
 
I could play with words all day
Compare you to realities present and true
But no words can replace what I want to say
And that is, “I truly love you”.
 
 
 
 
All the words I long to say
Would come out and made known someday.
Up to now, I think we’re pretty even,
Though this concealed feeling is Heavier than Heaven.
 
 

By: JVA

Death Plans

December 22, 2008

Death does seem to be in the air.

After my grand aunt’s birthday yesterday, and her unexpected death early today, it seems another distant grand aunt is on death’s door. Don’t get me too morbid though. I could just see that they have led long lives and they are suffering due to the complications sometimes accompanying old age that it seems death would be a most fitting and inevitable solution. Then again it must just be me being so brave and totally unafraid of death. In fact to me, death is about the sweetest thing that could ever happen to me in this life. Of course I can say all this with utter confidence for I know where I am going. And I am nonchalant about my own death not so much out of excitement to where I am going in the afterlife but so much because I want to escape so many things in this present life.
That’s the truth. The hard core truth.

So anyways I have been thinking about my own death and how I want it. Of course I do not speculate on the time it will come. Die young or old really doesn’t matter much to me so long as I know I’ll die. I cringe at the thought of immortality in an imperfect world – as wonderful as that may sound to others. There has really got to be more than just this life.

So anyways, I thought that my physical body must by all means be sold or donated to medical institutions. That way even in death I have contributed something. Of course assuming I died in excellent condition. Otherwise maybe parts of me could find itself in organ donation banks. The point here is I really do not give much damn about my physical body. In fact I am quite scared of the though of worms eating it. So I would rather it be put to good use in the name of science or otherwise cremated or if the funds does not allow it then burned.
This may very well served as a last will and testament except that I am writing about how I want my death carried out.

I know dying is expensive so as long as I have zero death plans that would cover my death expenses I want it to be as inexpensive as possible. I do not wish to lie in a casket and be viewed upon by people. I do not want their last memory of me to be some girl lying still in a coffin looking all white and ashen. I want them to remember me alive. Which is why I prefer not dying ill. So I want my wakes if I can call them that to be like a gallery show. Pictures of me, my journals, my mementos etc. displayed in walls and stands for everyone to see. I want the atmosphere to be like that in a gallery. Hushed yet comfortable. Not grieving. I want people to rejoice over the fact that I have moved on to a much better place and maybe get them thinking to following me there soon.

I want my death to be a relieving of memories – good and bad, and as I know it will turn out to be a reunion of sorts then make it a fun reunion. The point is: I do not want anybody to see me dead. Except maybe the anonymous medical students who would tinker away with my body.

Then being the business person that I am I got to thinking maybe I could profit from this idea. You know, maybe I could offer contemporary thinking people – those not bound by so many religious traditions, to actually buy my idea. Of course it will be up to them if they really want their caskets viewed but the main idea I will be selling is the though of having a gallery of sorts about you displayed on your wakes.

Mine really doesn’t have to be an overnight wake. It can have opening times like galleries. And I can even do the catering for the guests. So as to spare the dead person’s family of the grief of thinking about what food to prepare etc. hmm.. is this not a grand idea? I don’t know how sellable it would be though as death is a touchy subject for a lot of people.

But picture death this way. A person dies and his or her body is either embalmed into a coffin to be buried in a cemetery or cremated. Another option is donation to a medical institution. That part is not for me to decided upon. The part where my business comes in is the wake – so called wake that is.

The room is arranged as to a gallery – photos and mementos of the deceased are gathered and arranged ala art gallery style. Comfortable chairs such as sofas and high stools are strung about the room to accommodate guests yet mostly people are encouraged to wander around and look at the displays of the deceased person colorful life. They may see his travel photos, his growing up photos, the music he likes, his interests, his hidden talents and hobbies etc. The whole experience will be like relieving the dead person’s memory. Most people have set of friends who know only an aspect of their whole persona. This will be the chance where officemates get to know the deceased as more than just the stiff boss and see that he was also a piano player. You get the picture. I believe this would spur up more anecdotes, a couple of tears perhaps but happy memories as well.

I think it is a most fitting tribute to the deceased to be seen this way.

I can just picture my funeral parlor. A big building with a grand lobby leading to several rooms. And the entrance to those rooms would have huge portraits of the deceased face. And inside would be the “gallery”. And then it is the deceased choice to either have a coffin there where his dead body could be viewed or none at all (in case he doesn’t want to be remembered as dead as well).

I do not really know if this mars some religious belief but if a person is contemporary enough like me perhaps I think this would be well appreciated. Of course a person has to be alive and well to decide on having wakes such as this. And in order to make such decision one has to be comfortable in accepting his death however unexpected it may arrive.

And of course my contracts would have to be premediated. Most of the time. I have to be sure that this is the dying person’s wish and that it is clear with the family. I will never dream of fighting off a whole clan of grieving relatives over a dead man’s final wish. Full information of the family has to be condition. Meaning they understood the rationale behind such a wake and they know how much it would cost. Also the pictures and mementos must be available right after the death – again however untimely it may come. Afterall for me no death is untimely. All deaths are not accidents however accidental they may look. So everyone has to be prepared to die sooner or later.

Do you think this idea might actually work? Again the talk of death is a morbid topic. I know. But if you are comfortable with it then I think more than looking at it as the termination of a life, then maybe you can reformat your thinking into looking at death as the oppurtunity of a lifetime – pun intended. It is the chance to explore what no one for certain knows. What is out there. What is heaven really like? If you believe in heaven and are sure of going there. What is hell like? If you believe in it and think you are going there. Is reincarnation really possible. Is death just a dead end.

Well whatever you believe. As for me, this whole confidence in discussing my death wishes stems from the fact that I for sure know I am going to heaven and I have such high hopes about it. Where does this faith sprung forth? From knowing with absolute certainty that I am saved and I have a mansion prepared for me in heaven because I have accepted Jesus in my heart. I may not be a model Christian but I am sure of my salvation. The thought gives me comfort. The absoluteness and certainty of it gives me security.

How about you? What do you believe in? And are you ready to discuss your death plans with me?

No one knows the time or place

They say that in life we cannot be certain of anything. Even if we have our whole future or maybe just our day planned out, we still have to account for variable changes – things we cannot really foresee will happen. It can be as mundane as the sudden change in the weather – the sunny day becoming cloudy and oftentimes rainy (a common scene in a tropical country riddled with global warming) or it may be an unexpected job promotion or a pop quiz in class. Life is indeed full of uncertainties.

But one thing in life we can be certain of – and that is death. It may be a morbid topic for some, for some it may be taboo. No one alive really likes speaking about death, much less discussing it. It oftentimes bring many gloomy thoughts and some believe it disrespectful to be speaking of death amongst robustly alive individuals and all the more around ill ones.

The latest events in the lives of my friends – all from different social networks – has led me to consider that death is indeed an inevitable event in a person’s life. And as such one that merits much preparation. If we prepare for things which are uncertain – we study so hard in college but we are really uncertain if we can pass our dream medical or law school or maybe land our dream job – then all the more should we prepare for things which are certain in life – and as such our death.

I have seen friends who encountered sudden deaths in their families and they are suddenly at a lost on how to handle the death of their loved one. And I mean not just emotionally (although this is hard enough) but also financially and logistically (which I believe if one is not prepared is actually harder). Imagine the stress of having to decide on the coffin, on the wake services, on the burial manner – these are decisions hard to make if one is caught unprepared.

But more than the questions of how we would want our departed bodies treated on earth once we die, the more pressing question would probably be how we want our souls treated when we die. Now some may argue that there is no afterlife – that we vanish into thin air once our bodies cease breathing – but I beg to disagree. I believe in an afterlife – something far more glorious than this ruined habitat we call earth. So bear with me.

Now if we assume there is indeed an afterlife, how have we prepared our souls for it? Some would say, Oh I’ve been a really really good person here on earth – giving alms to the poor, not littering on the streets, saying kind words to people. I am good and I believe I deserve heaven. Or maybe some of us would say, Well I tried my best to live a good life here on earth, it’s up to God to decide where I’ll be. And even some of us would say, So what if I go to hell?

Can you see the various levels of uncertainties we have of our afterlife? So we are certain we would die – how we would die, we do not know. But we are uncertain what would happen afterwards.

I say that apart from the certainty of death, we can most be certain of what our afterlife would look like. That for me is one of the surest things we can have here on earth.

The afterlife is only two things: Heaven and Hell. They are real and certain places, very much opposite in character. Where in heaven there is eternal joy and prosperous living in the company of other people, in hell there is eternal torture and suffering – alone. Yes, in hell suffering is not in the company of other people but alone. So who would still want to go to hell?

Of course everyone would want to go to the place of bliss and joy. But how do you go there? It is easy to go to hell – live a sinful life and you are bound for eternal damnation. But heaven is a different thing. No amount of godly living will get you there. Contrary to popular opinion being good doesn’t merit a ticket to heaven. In fact no amount of good works will make the gates of heaven open wide for us.

So where does that place us? If we can’t get into heaven where do we go? There are only two destinations – it’s either one or the other. No gray areas.

The good thing about all this discussion of death and the afterlife is that there is a sure way for us to go to heaven. I am sure we all dream of heaven – I mean who dreams of going to hell? Or if we haven’t think about it, maybe we should start doing so, given all the deaths happening around us – open your eyes and look around and you’ll see dying people everywhere.

So what then is the ticket? *drum roll please*

Jesus and what he did on the cross.

Just that. Plain and simple. Believe in that single event two thousand years ago. Know it’s implication in our life. Accept his sacrifice. Pursue a personal relationship with a Personal Savior.

And you can be certain that your afterlife is well taken care of. All that’s left now is the logistics of your burial. *wink*

HELL EXPLAINED BY CHEMISTRY STUDENT

HELL EXPLAINED BY CHEMISTRY STUDENT

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid term.

The answer by one student was so “profound” that the professor shared
it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now
have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives
off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law
(gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some
variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we
need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate
at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once
a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are
leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the
different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their
religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these
religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we
can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as
they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase
exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell
because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and
pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand
proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls
enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase
until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in
Hell,then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes
over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman
year that, “It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and
take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then
number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and
has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since
Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more
souls and is therefore, extinct….. .leaving only Heaven, thereby
proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night,
Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God.”

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+.

is this really hell?

i know this was intended as a pun. as a joke. but seriously, have we ever thought of the possibility of a hell? or how someone can actually go there? what is it like? or are we too preoccupied of the things of this earth to even care about what lies in the afterlife. after all there’s nothing out there. we all live then die into oblivion.

is that it?

is that what your soul is saying? or do you get the nagging feeling that there is something out there..that there is life beyond death.we were made in such a way as to search for eternity. fountain of youth. anti-aging. we all have a deep sense in us to live forever. we crave eternity. admit it or not. this is how we were designed. to live forever. so it would be logical to assume that there is something out there. a hell. and a heaven.

but where would we go.

the student was right in concluding that all goes to hell. everyone. why? we’re all sinners. and the smallest sin is already a qualification for hell. and a disqualification for its counterpart heaven.what is hell like then, if we are to spend eternity there? unfortunately, it is not frozen over, as the student has stipulated. rather it is burning. exothermically or endothermically – i do not know. what i do know is that is is a fiery furnace, a lake of burning sulfur. some place where we will be confined alone for all eternity. forever burning. suffering alone. miserable. that’s our destination.

sad. morbid. depressing.

but no need to dwell in such feelings any longer. for there is hope. we can achieve eternal life. not in hell. but in heaven. how? if we are sinners and disqualified from heaven how can we go there? simple. the blood of Jesus.

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. this is our ticket. the blood Jesus shed on the cross was for our sins. so we won’t endure hell. He, who was without sin became sin for us. He endured the wrath of God, the Father, so that we would enjoy God’s love. He went to hell for us. He overcome death for us. So we would never go to hell and we would overcome death. The ticket. To heaven. To escape hell.

What is heaven? it’s not clouds and all that. It’s a place of infinite beauty, love, peace and everything good we can imagine. It’s a place I want to spend eternity in.

How to get there? simple. Get a ticket there. Accept the ticket. We don’t even have to buy it. Yes. The ticket to heaven is priceless. It’s given freely to anyone who wishes to accept it. It’s not even for sale. Sometimes we try to buy it with good works but that isn’t needed for the purchase. It’s a free ticket to heaven.

The question is: will you accept it?

Will you accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross for you? Will you allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of you life? Will you allow him to reside in your heart? He doesn’t care if your perfect or not. What he cares about is your Yes or No to His offer.

In the end, my conclusion is: hell does exist, whether exothermically or endothermically, it is a very very hot place full of misery and suffering and everyone is headed for it. it’s counterpart, heaven is a much much better place, however, no one is qualified to enter it. but then, Someone gave away free tickets to heaven. the question is whether we will accept the ticket or not.

now, don’t i deserve an A++?