Heaven And Hell
Little Johnny had heard all about heaven and hell, about good and evil. But, being so young, it never really bothered him, and he never really thought about it.
As he got a little older, and began to understand things better, he became curious. One day, he asked his mum, “Mum, what is so different about heaven and hell?”
Johnny’s mum pondered for a little while, then took out a piece of paper and a pencil. She drew a horizontal line across the middle of the page. On the top half, she wrote “heaven” in big letters, then drew a picture. In the bottom half, she wrote “hell”, and drew another picture. She then passed the piece of paper to Johnny.
Johnny looked at the pictures and first observed the one in the “heaven” part of the paper. There was a huge banquet table, and many people were seated around it. Men, women, young and old, children and old folks, all together, like one big family. Each one of them held a very long fork. It was a strange, huge fork, much bigger than any Johnny had ever seen. On the table lay a feast. The people looked well-fed, very happy and satisfied. They were talking, laughing, hugging and looked like they were having a good time.
The “hell” picture was not all that different. In fact, it was almost exactly the same picture. But the people were neither talking, laughing, nor hugging. They had looks of anger, suspicion and distrust on their faces. And they were stick thin, obviously starving.
Johnny was a little confused. “Mum. In hell, there is also great food lying on the table. Why do the people look so hungry? Why don’t they use their forks to eat the food? The people are also sitting on big, comfortable chairs. And they are surrounded by so many people. How come they look so lonely and unhappy? They have everything the people in heaven have, so why are they so miserable?”
“You see, Johnny. In hell, there is no love and trust, and the people bear grudges. The spirit of giving and sharing is also absent, the people are selfish and only think of themselves. Unfortunately, the forks are too long, and when the people use the forks to pick up the food, they are unable to reach their own mouths and put the food in. So they go hungry, and are very unhappy. These negative feelings multiply and give rise to other negative feelings, like anger and bitterness. That’s why they are so miserable.”
“In heaven, however, the people love each other. They may have their differences and they may make mistakes, but they learn to forgive. They may have their selfish instincts, but they learn to share. They learn to give without first taking. When a man is hungry, all he has to do is ask, sometimes he doesn’t even have to, and someone from across the table would use his or her fork to pick up some food and feed the hungry man. You see, Johnny, in heaven, they, too, may have forks which are too long to feed themselves. But they don’t allow this slight obstacle to deter them. In heaven, Johnny, they feed each other. That’s why they don’t go hungry. And this spirit of giving and sharing breeds even more love, that’s why everyone is so happy and satisfied with life, not just physically, but emotionally too.”