Well, the obvious answer to the headline question would be your family.
But that is not what I am seeking. Look upon your years and the relations you have had with people, and really think of the people you want to meet up with again. That takes a lot of thought. And as you go through the process, keep in mind God is all merciful. There may people you may think of dismissing. But knowing God is all merciful, you may have second thoughts.
Remember, among the person or persons you select, there could be a pretty bad dude. But when that final moment comes and death is near, he or she may recognize how bad they were and sincerely ask God’s forgiveness. God’s love is bountiful and he wants everyone with him. So something to think about as you ponder the question…in the hereafter, who do you want to see? I have given this thought, and I would like to elaborate on my choices.
Kahlil was a friend of mine—he came to this country with his family from Lebanon. He was of my faith and a very gentle man. He did not wear his faith on his sleeve, but he welcomed anyone he met into his life with open arms. I never heard him say a derogatory remark about anyone. He was a great family man. In business, he was honest; he did not take advantage of anyone. In other words, he was just a good human being.
Another one I am waiting to see is Dave. I should mention Dave and I were not of the same faith, but a good Christian he was. His attributes were very similar to Kahlil’s in every respect. But what really stood out is the following: Though Dave was not one of much wealth, he lived life to the fullest. When he entered your presence, he always lit up the room with his comical remarks, his honesty and his acceptance of everyone.
The other two companions I would like to tell you about also are very interesting. Maddy was of my faith, but not a practitioner of it, even though he was brought up in Catholic schools. He served in Special Forces in Nam. I worked with him when he got out of the service. As a fellow worker, he gave his all and was a joy to be around during business hours. After business hours, he was a hard-driven young man with worldly desires. He moved to Puerto Rico, but we still kept in touch.
One night, when I visited him after he’d spent a night on the town, he told me some of the actions he had had to take when he was in Nam. Elaborating on those events, he cried like a baby. He wrestled with some of the decisions he had had to make, which he considered tragic. He had to follow orders. But those decisions left him with demons for the rest of his life. I sincerely believe that is where he lost his faith. I consider him a microcosm of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who started the Jesuit Order. Like Saint Ignatius, he was a warrior and lived a very sensual life. However, unlike the saint, Maddy did not return to the faith. He and I talked for hours that particular evening. The next day, as we went past a church, I suggested that we stop in and say a prayer. He was not up to it: the demons had a strangle hold on him. Deep down, Maddy was a good person. And I believe God, in his bountiful mercy, knowing what he went through and the demons that he was constantly fighting, will let him through the pearly gates.
The next man I want to see is my Hungarian friend, the good doctor. He was an immigrant who had no use for religion. In the old country, his family was a family of means before the Russians took over. Shortly after that, he was thrown into a gulag, a Russian concentration camp, wherein he saw life at its worst, both for himself and for his fellow prisoners. Completely destitute, he escaped from the prison and eventually landed in the USA where built a successful business and life for himself and his family. He was a very stern man, but fair. Maybe the sternness was a condition that developed while he was in prison. Many times, I would stop at the local deli, buy a loaf of bread and some cheese and cold cuts, give him a call and tell him I was bringing lunch. Now here was a man of means. We could have gone to any restaurant in town, but Mark was old school. Personally, I believe our lunches helped him feel like he was back in Hungary, having lunch with the family. We would sit and talk and laugh. Many times during these lunches, I would tell him, “You’re a good man and God knows it.” He would shrug it off.
But like Maddy, his bad experiences in the camp also left him with demons to contend with. Mark, a stern man but a good man. I sincerely believe God will judge him as one worthy of his place in the hereafter. I miss him and can’t wait to see him. I believe he and Maddy would have had many tales to share—both good and bad—and probably would have been a help to each other. I have no doubt they would have developed a deep friendship. I will have to introduce them to each other in the hereafter.
These are the people I want to see in the hereafter. The common thread … they were good to people , they were trustful, their word was their bond and at times, all of them were joyful. Hmmm? Sound familiar? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! As the old saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover. But God can, because he also knows what is in their hearts and the trials they have been through.
See you guys, and I’ll bring lunch!