HEAVEN AND HELL AND THE SPOONS

Aspen grove from community.humanityhealing.net

“For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” –John F. Kennedy

We live, breathe and have dreams. And yes, we die. So, what then? Shall we–

“Eat, drink and be merry?!”

Or, is there something more to this life?

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Being from Colorado, I am awed by aspen trees. The way they splash color through the forests in fall, their beautiful, smooth white trunks and cookie shaped leaves that dangle like Christmas ornaments in the wind. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned the truth of their origins — it made the love them even more.—A single seedling will birth an entire colony of aspen trees. The trees live anywhere from 40-150 years, but the root systems of that seedling continue to live on, creating new trees, living and thriving for thousands of years!

One of my favorite movie scenes is in the movie Phenomenon. George Malley, the sweet character played by John Travolta, stands in front of an immense grove of majestic aspens. As the wind whispers secrets only he and the trees can hear and the leaves dance an un-interpretable dance, he hones into something unfathomable. He gets it–

The interconnectedness of life.

The story of the spoons has never left me and further demonstrates this connection:

 

Rabbi Haim of Romshishok was an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town delivering religious sermons that stressed the importance of respect for one’s fellow man. He often began his talks with the following story:

 

“I once ascended to the firmaments. I first went to see Hell and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. As I came closer, I understood their predicament.

 

Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so he could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.

 

Next I went to visit Heaven. I was surprised to see the same setting I had witnessed in Hell – row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to Hell, the people here in Heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously sated from their sumptuous meal.

As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had his arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented him from bending his elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?

 

As I watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! The recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

 

I suddenly understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions.

 

The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other.

 (taken from Wikipedia.org)

Hate breeds hate; love grows love.

Like the aspen tree, we will die. Yet, what about our “root system”? 

We make choices while we are here:  how we live, what we dream, what our legacy will be.

While we’re here, let’s remember we’re all in this together.

Don’t allow the hunger for things of this world to distract from the ability to impact another in need.

Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing a kind word that feeds another’s soul.

And the reward for your act may just be eternal.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

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