I was chatting with my friend Royce recently. I was telling her about an anxiety dream I’d had, and she told me a similar dream. Before we knew it, we’d drifted into this serious discussion, and I’d have to say we resolved several of life’s deepest questions. It went something like this (Note: “D” = myself; “R” = Royce):
-D: Now that I’m retired, I don’t think I’m going to have any more anxiety dreams about failure. I’ll think I’ll get into death anxiety instead.
-R: If you were a Christian you wouldn’t even have death anxiety. Because you would know you were going to live forever.
-D: Hmm. Actually that sounds pretty good. Maybe I should become a Christian. What kind is best?
-R: Well, they all believe in the after-life. So I guess you could pick any one.
-D: I want the one that has the most ideal version of the after-life. Who has the number one picture of heaven? Would it be the Catholics?
-R: No, it would be the Baptists.
-D: Then I should be a Baptist. But aren’t they into sin and guilt pretty heavily?
-R: I did suffer a lot of guilt, that’s for sure.
-D: Even if I became religious, I don’t know if I could believe in the after-life. Do you believe in the after-life?
-R: I can’t really say. I can’t say that I do believe in the after-life, and I can’t say that I don’t. For me, it’s an unknown.
-D: I don’t think that’s right. People should believe one way or the other. If you had to pick one, which would it be?
-R: If I absolutely had to pick one, I guess I would lean toward believing in the after-life.
-D: Oh no, that’s not good. It’s totally obvious that there’s no after-life. You would be fooling yourself.
-R (getting irritated): How can you say that it’s obvious?
-D: Well, do ants have an after-life? I think it’s pretty clear they don’t.
-R: That’s not clear. Ants could have an after-life.
-D: And what about frogs? Frogs don’t have an after-life.
-R: Frogs could.
-D: Did you ever hear a frog speak to you from the after-life?
-M. No. But I never heard a frog speak to me from this life either.
-D: And what about Old English Sheepdogs? Or even humans. Did a dead human ever contact you from the after-life.
-R: No, they can’t contact you. The after-life is a totally different plane of being.
-D: And did you ever see any evidence of heaven? Did you ever look up in the clouds and see people with wings who were carrying harps?
-R: Who said they carry harps in heaven? Who says heaven even exists? Why are you having all this death anxiety anyway? Are you scared of the pain of dying?
-D: No, it’s not that. Here is the actual reason why I have a fear of dying. I have all these hundreds of thousands of antique postcards. If I die, they will just be left over. I know I should dispose of them first, but I don’t want to, and so I’m just going to die without having taken care of business. It’s sort of a bureaucratic thing.
-R: If heaven did exist, I’m sure you would be able to get some new postcards there.
-D: I don’t even know if I want that in heaven. What’s heaven about anyway? Just playing your harp and looking at your postcards? For all eternity? That sounds awful.
-R: Well, maybe the best choice for you would be to not die.
-D: That’s such good advice. That’s what I’m going to do. Thank you so much. (The conversation comes to an end.)
So that’s how we got rid of those little questions. I don’t think I’ll have any death anxiety dreams after all. Just postcard anxiety dreams.
-Linda C (7-19): absolutely one of the best, i am still laughing
-JML (7-19): great one dad
-Gayle C-L (7-17): Hi. How r u. Give my love to all I would love to see u ;) will we meet anytime soon???? Lots of love G
-Jennifer M (7-17): I like this entry very much. It captures your personality as well as life's anxieties so nicely. Maybe C's exploration of the world's religions will lead to a conclusion about the best afterlife option among the religions. Or at least, a good this-life option for dealing with anxieties. We'll let you know. :-)