Billboards are cool, right? Super fun, obnoxious signs meant to grab your attention and persuade your thinking. Kind of Like the title of this blog. What does it mean? Are Heaven and Hell even real places? What is a Buck-a-roo?
These are all excellent questions, and I am so glad you asked them and it wasn’t me just making them up. Since you asked, I will do my best to answer. Here is where the Heaven and Hell tagline came from.
On The Highway of Life
So, twice a month I drive up to Tennesse from Atlanta and on the way home I drive down I75south. On this stretch of highway lie many a great billboard, but one stuck out to me yesterday, and it is one that I have seen hundreds of times before. However, this time something clicked for me, and I would like to share it. With the hope that it may resonate for you as well.
The Billboard read: “Do You Know Where You Are Going?” and underneath this was a picture of Heaven full of lights and clouds and an all around good time, and to the right was a picture of Hell in all its firery damnation and scariness.
Like I said I had seen this billboard hundreds of times before, and all those times I would think, “These religious people that pay for this nonsense are crazy. Using fear of Hell to force people to their way of thinking is cruel and not the right way.” But this day something happened, I looked at the billboard with new eyes and without judgment and thought, “hmmm, maybe there is some merit in this question.”
As it turns out there is, for me at least.
The ideas of Heaven and Hell have scared me since I was a child, thinking that I didn’t know of either place and I was unsure if I was qualified for the good one. So, I felt like I was always fighting to earn a spot in Heaven and that Hell was a much more realistic option for my poor, imperfect, messed up soul.
Heaven seemed like a place reserved for the best of people, the Mother Teresa’s, Martin Luther King’s, Gandhi, and other very noble people.
It appeared that the Pope and his crew were the only ones qualified to get into this Kingdom of God, and that Hell was the place for me.
What a crappy way of thinking. It wasn’t until I grew up and experienced Hell on Earth that I realized that both Heaven and Hell are available to me right now, in this moment.
Stick with me.
I spent years in a personal Hell of isolation, Alcoholism, drug addiction, and self-harm. I was tormented every day by personal demons that attacked me and wouldn’t let me sleep. I was so terrified of Life that I would stand and stare out my bedroom window and cry because the thought of leaving my Hell prison would make me violently sick and I would need to drink to the point of blackout, to stop the voices and fear.
You can say, “that isn’t Hell Matt, that is just depression and being a drunk.” Well, I will tell you something, it is as close to Hell as I ever want to come, and who is to say what Heaven or Hell truly is. Have you been? Did you take pictures? What was the weather like?
See, here is the thing. Heaven and Hell are incredibly personal things, and I didn’t realize that I was choosing to live in Hell every day until, I was Living in my own personal Hell.
The fact of the matter is we all have a choice. That billboard reminded me of that choice, and maybe that is why it was there.
I can choose today to live in a lifetime in Heaven, meaning choosing Love, Honesty, Friendship, Community, Inspiration, Service, Faith, Humility, Abundance, Joy, and a number of other characteristics that indicate a Heavenly existence for me right now.
I can choose, Judgement, Fear, Hate, Pain, Intolerance, Jealousy, Envy, Lack, Laziness, and a number of other Hellish characteristics to live in each day. Take it from a man that chose wrong for a very long time. Stop chosing Hell. I picked Hell for a long time until I realized I had a choice. And you do too.
The question of, “Do you know where you are going,” is a good one in my opinion, and here is why.
If God or whoever you believed in showed up today and said, “Times up Buck-a-Roo.” Would you say, “awesome let’s go to Heaven” or would you say, “crap I hope God lets me into heaven.”
Because I think God would give us that which we have chosen to live in on earth.
Meaning, if I have chosen to be a hateful, judgmental, selfish, intolerant person, why wouldn’t God say, “Well it looks like you really enjoyed Hell here on Earth with the time I gave you. You wouldn’t want to spend an Eternity in Heaven with me. Off you go to the place you chose and love so much.”
I think God gives us an opportunity in every moment to either choose Heaven or Hell right now. We can make that decision; I know this for a fact now. Because I am no longer in Hell, but living a life I never dreamed possible. But, it is a choice every day, and God knows we are imperfect and sometimes we choose Hell over Heaven because we think we are smart and, hey Hell has some lovely beaches.
But, the gift is that God will allow us at any moment in our life to begin to choose Heaven. You can decide right now to live in an eternal paradise on Earth. It doesn’t have to do with Christianity or Hinduism or Muslim or Jewdisim. It has to do with you and the choice you make.
Ask yourself, are you happy with your life? Are you surrounded by love or fear? What can you do to make your life a beautiful life today?
The answers are out there. A happy, joyous and free life is available to you right now. You don’t have to wait until you die and then cross your fingers that you get into Heaven. Choose the Heaven you want right now and live in that beautiful, magical realm, of lucky charms and Unicorn farts.
Just make a choice, decide where you want to spend eternity and start spending the time you know you have right now in it. I promise, you will never have to question or be afraid about where you are going when you die, because you will have spent a lifetime in Heaven on earth.
And that is my Truth. Thanks for reading.