Is There Life Before Death?
The Return of Odysseus
Odysseus managed to avoid, at the last moment, the big truck that had passed at high speed on his side of the road and was heading straight for his car, but the sudden maneuver made him lose control of it. So the car went out of the roadway, flipped over several times before crashing into a tree at the bottom of a big ditch. Odysseus after the first flip and the opening of the airbags had already lost his senses shortly before the crash.
He opened his eyes like he was awakening from a nightmare. He took deep breaths for a while and calmed down. He did not hurt anywhere, and he felt a strange inner euphoria. He looked around and assumed he was in a long, dark tunnel. He stood up and walked toward the light at the end of the tunnel while he was trying to remember what had happened. He exited much faster than he expected, and the spectacle that he saw was breathtaking.
He was in front of the most beautiful scenery he had ever seen, or to be right; it was the most beautiful landscape, he could imagine, even in his most wonderful dreams. A vast garden full of colors, perfumes, and everything that it could delight and calm his senses and his soul. He had never felt so magnificently again. He was entirely sure about that.
A few yards to his right, next to a fountain that well up singing water, he was sitting the only other man to be seen in the landscape. She wore greenish Bermuda shorts, a white shirt, and sandals. No matter how fussy you would be, it could be very difficult to characterize him as something less than "handsome." Their eyes met, and then Odysseus felt the sense of trust. He went to greet him.
"Welcome my friend!" Said the stranger.
"Good morning," Odysseus replied. "Where am I;"
"You do not know?" Asked the man.
"Oh ... Oh ... no," Odysseus said.
"Ok! Do you know where do you come from? "
"I think ..." Odysseus said, trying to bring back to mind what had happened.
"You think! You are not sure about this too! Do you know who are you at least? "
"My name is Odysseus ..."
"I did not ask you your name. I asked who you are. "
"You confuse me, dear sir, and at this moment I think I am a little lost. You know, as if I've just woken up from a long lethargy. What do you mean who I am? And if I'm not rude, who are you? "
"You can call me Azrael. No, I do not know what it means to wake up from long-term lethargy. And I ask you if you know yourself. Your real self. "
"Azrael! Your name reminds me something...". The mind of Odysseus had started to work madly. He was trying to restore old images and memories and the way he came in this place. His brain was working at the highest speed it could. Suddenly he froze. All were connected now. He stayed for a while with his mouth open looking at the empty space. Then he said, "I am in Heaven! ... That's it! ... No, it isn't possible! ... Tell me, am I in Paradise?"
"Why? Where were you before?" Replied Azrael.
"Oh! What do you mean, where I was before? Hmm...! In the ... Earth, ... in the world, ... in the other life."
"In the other life?! Why? What is this life? "Azrael continued in an enigmatic tone.
"I mean life before death. This is! ... I have died, and came to Paradise! But ... but it can't be ...”
"What it can't be? Can't you be dead? "
"No... No. I cannot be in Paradise!" Odysseus replied as he was looking troubled.
"Why?" Azrael asked, astonished.
"Because I know, as they have taught us, that only good people go to heaven, and believe me, I am far from being a good person," Odysseus said as was gripped by grief.
"I appreciate your sincerity, but who are they who have taught you this?"
"The men of God, the priests."
"Aha! The men of God! Let me ask you something; Are there people who are not of God? And what about you? Whose creation are you?" Azrael continued with a more teasing tone.
"Eh...What; You are confusing me more and more," Odysseus replied.
"Good," said Azrael, "let's take it from the beginning to clear it for both of us. Tell me if I'm wrong about what I've understood. You think you know where you came from and you think there was not Paradise. You think you know who you are but you know you are not good and you are not God's man. You think you came to Paradise and you should not have been to it because you have been told so by some people that they say that are God's men. Am I right until now?"
"I think so," Odysseus replied.
"You think, again. I can see a confusion. Let me ask you something; you, though you are not a good man as you say, do you believe in God? "
"Yes, I believe, I believe very much. And I know that for everything that has happened, I cannot blame Him. I was not worthy of His love," Odysseus said with a deep sense of repentance.
"So you believe God gives you His love. You believe that He is the Love."
"Yes! Yes! I am sure!" Odysseus answered with confidence, "I believe God is pure Love. I wish I could return Him, even a little of the love He has given me. "
Azrael reached out and grabbed Odysseus's shoulders. He looked deeply into his eyes and said,
"I will ask you some things, and you will have all the time to think about them and answer me some other time, not now. How can the God of Love create a place that is not Paradise? How can a child of God not be worthy of His love, no matter what it has done? How can a child of God not have the right to return home, to his Father, who is waiting for it, as it was His only child? How can anyone need an intermediary to contact his Father? And finally, please consider this. Is it possible that the fall and the departure from Paradise that they have taught you, be nothing but the illusion that you have gone from it? What if you never left Paradise?"
"Move away!" Yelled the paramedic, and right after 300 volts hit the Odysseus' heart, putting it back into normal operation again. He opened his eyes and smiled. He had all the answers already in his mind.
Only the light of Truth and Love can help us to see the whole beauty and colors of Paradise, in this life.— Sean Dragon
A Short Explanation for a ...Long Story
Since I was a young boy, I often listened the grownups around me talking about the issue of death, and the conversation always ended up to the famous big question:
"Is there life after death?"
While I was growing up, I found that in essence, this question is equivalent to another great mystery of man:
"Is there God?"
It is logical that if we answer to one of them, we will respond to the other one too.
Those questions were one of the reasons that led me to study Physics at the University. I wanted to see if I could answer them through science. This study, combined with a series of incidents (many of them for me were miracles of all meaning of the word) that I experienced, really helped me to find an answer, not perhaps what I was expecting, but a response that for now, I am fully satisfied with it. In essence, the answer came through another question that began to form in my mind until it got its final form when I saw it written somewhere else. And this is:
"Is there life before death?"
I think it is much more important to answer this question and then, perhaps the original ones will answer themselves when we are ready. Let me explain my logic.
Unfortunately, we spend our days without really living them. Lost in our problems, our selfishness, our nagging, our sadness, our loneliness, we forget to enjoy every moment of this wonderful miracle called life! And when we realize what we do, that we are wasting our time, instead of changing the way we are living we choose to hope for a next life, just to fool ourselves with the thought that we are going to live that one. So we struggle to prove the answer that will give us this hope!
Do you know how it looks to me? As someone has offered us an invaluable gift and we are destroying it with our behavior, while we are hoping that he will give us another one! And I ask: Why should he do it? After we have shown that we are not able to appreciate this gift why to be offered to us again?
So I decided to show respect for this wonderful gift. I decided to fill my days with acts of love and offering and so to illuminate every one of them with the light of the souls that I have helped. I choose to try to appreciate every minute, every breath. I choose to use them to find the miracles, small and great, that are around me and enjoy them. I choose to thank for everything I live, even for the difficulties that will make me wiser and stronger. I choose to live my life as if there is no other, and so I have to offer as much love I can offer now, because "now" is all have. If I live my life this way, when this life will end, it will be alright to me. And when I am in front of God, because I know that God exists, I will be proud to say that I have used His gift rightly and I will deserve every other life that will offer me!
And to those who will ask, what will happen if I eventually find that there is no God and another life, I will answer with a smile:
If there is nothing after, then I will have no problem since I will not exist anywhere! But I won't have wasted my only opportunity in this case. I will have lived my life happy, and smiley, full of love and experience and I will continue to live for a long time in the hearts of those I helped. So, what a miracle it will be! I will live a second, at least, life in their hearts!
Every moment I live in Him, in His loving embrace, so every moment I live in Paradise. I never left!— Sean Dragon
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis