Friday, January 18, 2008

Of Anger and angels who wouldnt care less

Let me tell you a story. A story that begins with death.

Ben was 51 years old when the car hit him. He died instantly. The crowd picked him up and rushed him to a hospital but there was no miracle to be. Ben was dead. His time was up.

And he saw himself in the hospital as doctors tried frantically to save him. He wanted to tell them that it was of no use but he couldnt directly speak to him, this he knew. Besides doctors would always be doctors.

There was no sorrow for a lost life. And somehow deep within him he realized that there was no sorrow for the dead. They accepted their fate and moved on ... to what awaited them. Ben hoped that that would be God. He had a few questions for God.

"What sort of questions?"

He turned and saw a man dressed in a white suite sitting on one of the chairs outside the operating theatre. The man was looking at him, smiling as he reached inside his coat for a cigarette and proceeded to light it.

"What sort of questions, Ben? You were grumpy, moody and depressing all your life. Its over now, why barrage God with your questions?"

"Shouldn't I know ? Dont I have a right to know where He was all my life ? When I needed Him the most, God turned me down, left me to live an entire life without peace? Shouldn't I know why He gave me a crappy life? "

"Bullshit," the man said and Ben winced.

"A crappy life is one where your parents would have abandoned you in some smelly sewer; a crappy life is where you would have been adopted by beggars who would have used you to scrape out a days meal. The last time I checked you were born to perfectly normal middle class parents. You had a fairly happy childhood. No one tortured you, no one abused you, no one neglected you. You had a good education which prevented you from becoming an illiterate anti-social. You had none of the horror stories I have personally seen. So what crappy life are you talking about ?"

Ben turned back to look at his body. True, his childhood was ok. So when had he started to hate his life ? When ?

Of course. It was ....

"During my college years. They were hell for me. He never stood by me. He left me in tatters."

The man laughed. "You were in love, and you blame God for that ? You loved a woman who could never have been yours and you neglected your studies. How did you think you were going to graduate ? Was He supposed to write your term papers for you?" And he laughed some more.

Ben closed his eyes. Jennifer. His first love. Memories at this point of time seemed like salt on wounds.

"How could you have known she was never going to be mine ? And even if she wasnt in my destiny or fate or whatever you call it ... then why did He let me fall for her ? Why did He make me go through that pain ?"

The man shook some ash of his coat. "She was a Mormon. You were a Catholic. Do you really think she would have married you? And to answer you're second question, you knew it would never work. But you were blinded by an impossible love. Deep within you, you knew this to be true. So why? Why did you go on with it ?"

"When you love, you love with your heart."

The man chuckled sarcastically. "If I had a penny for everytime I heard that lame line I wouldnt have this job of hauling your poor souls to heaven. You should have used your brains, Ben. He gave you a goddamned brain for a goddamned reason!"

Ben turned to look at him. "Are you supposed to swear like this."

"Of course I can. At total idiots like you. So ... college was a disaster because you listened to your heart. Hardly any fault of His. Was that all ? Was that why you think you had a crappy life ?"

"No!" Ben fumed. "No! After college I started my own business with my dad's money. It worked well. In fact it was fantastic! I had it all, everything ! A wife ... money ... a house ... cars ... everything ! And then God took it all. Why ? Why did he have to do that?"

"Again I ask you. What did He do ? You had your business ... a very successful business, but what did you do after that? Did you think success would be the same if you kept everything as it was after 10 years ? The secret to every business is expansion. Branching out. Did you do that ? Why didnt you ?"

Silence. Yes, why didnt he?

"I was scared."

"Scared of what?"

"Scared I would fail. I thought my success was a fluke. Something out of luck. I didnt want to jinx by wanting more."

The man stood and straightened his coat. "So let me get this straight. God gives you success and you thought it was a fluke. You have a failure because of your fear and you blame Him for it. Wow."

Ben looked down at his feet. Oddly he realizes that he is also wearing white.

"What about the rest of the years ? My wife ... her affair ... and finally she left me ... with my children. Why wasn't He there ?"

The man stands beside him. "You were to blame there. When your business failed ... you vented your anger on them. When you had a severe financial crisis, didnt you at least once want her and the kids out of your life ? That formed the basis of all your thoughts in later years. Heck, before you died, in the coffee shop you were thinking the same thing. What did you think she would do ? She stood by you for all those years. Did you appreciate it during the crunch years?"

Tears drop down his cheeks. So the dead do cry. "Why wasnt He with me for the last few years ? Why did He leave me alone ?"

The man moves closer to him and whispers in his ear. "He was always there for you. You just never saw Him."

And then he drew back. Stood in the middle of the light that was rapidly filling the room. Ben looked back at his body ... the doctors were finally giving up. With dejected faces, they leave the room.

"I gave you life as a sandbox. It was upto you to do the right thing. I was always there for you, with you whispering in your ear ... trying to influence you into the right way. The one opposing voice to your ideas was me ... but you chose to ignore it. And when things went wrong you chose to blame me."

"It's not what I gave you that counts, it's what you do with it."

He stepped back into the light, smiled and said: "But that's all in the past now. It's a new beginning from now on and we dont want any grudges do we ?"

Ben smiled back. And stepped into the light.

Ben, 51 years of age died of a car accident and left without grudges.

No comments: