This question has puzzled humankind since the beginning of civilization.

What do you think? Is there any proof one way or another? I know most religions tell us something is going on after physical death.

A few days ago, I had this discussion with an old friend of mine. We’ve discussed this subject many times over the years, and he was always of the opinion that when the body dies, the game is over, done, all finished. However, lately, he’s been reconsidering his position on the subject. At seventy-nine years of age, I think that my pal is very concerned with his own mortality and a bit frightened of the unknown. I suppose he feels the end of the road is near. He’s beginning to have some health issues, and healing takes a little longer today than it did thirty years ago. I can identify with his health concerns, but I found a secret that works for me years ago.

Concepts about what happens to you when death comes knocking for most people rely on their religious beliefs. I feel how it is received and considered should be a personal thing. I’m beginning to feel that most religious rules and laws are nothing more than thought suggestions. If one believes in God, then God is God.

Several years ago, I was exposed to something, a concept that was totally new to me but gave me a new outlook on my total thought process.

My wife’s Uncle Elijah had died. Elijah was a man who grew up in the country. I didn’t know him well, but I liked being around him. He was a basic guy, unassuming, and very humble. Most of the time, he kept to himself but was always there when he was needed.

The funeral was held in the New Hope Baptist Church. New Hope was a small fundamentalist church located out in the country in the northwest portion of the county. A very rural location. The main building was located on a hill in what looked like a pasture, and the large old cemetery was located on another hill to the left of the church. A gravel road leads from the church to the cemetery. The parking lot was full. There were a large number of pickup trucks, and many of them were of older vintage.

I walked up the worn walkway to the church entrance, and the size of the attending crowd was impressive. Most were older and dressed to the hilt. The mood was more of a social gathering than that of a funeral. There were a large number of flowers, and there was a smell of food.

After the meet and greet, the service began. I was shocked. This event was a celebration: singing and storytelling and a high time. I was puzzled. The two preachers were jubilant and exceptionally animated.

I was told that the service was a celebration of Elijah’s life on earth, and the people from his church really feel that Elijah is going to a better place to walk with God. Wow, what a pleasant and comforting thought. I liked that, and I’m glad I was exposed to the concept because it changed my life. It’s worth mentioning that I am not a Christian, but I have become a believer in the afterlife while in the presence of God rather than just heaven or hell.

I think I have become a better person since Elijah’s funeral. I often kid about earning a seat in heaven with God, and now I’m trying for a recliner.

After the service, it started to rain, but that did not deter the crowd. We all waited outside for the pole bearers to bring the coffin out of the church. They placed Elijah’s casket on a cart, and we walked the wagon up the hill to the grave. The scene reminded me of an old movie – a throwback to simpler and better times. Now I know where Elijah gained his wonderful demeanor.

I was surfing the internet the other day, and I came across a lecture on Youtube by an Orthodox Rabbi regarding life after death. He thought that we are composed of two parts – one the physical body and the other the soul. According to the Rabbi, your body, the physical part, came from dust and returns to dust when you die, but your soul continues to live on until the day the Messiah returns, and your soul is rejoined with your body. I like the idea of the soul living on; however, I prefer the fundamentalist concept a little better.

When my discussion with my friend ended, he accepted the Rabbi’s position regarding his soul. This was new for him. I’m glad he changed his mind about his finality. I like having him around. Nothingness does not appeal to me.

I realize most of you might have a different mindset than I, and I respect your points of view with all my heart – each to his own as they say. But, in conclusion, I have one request for you. If you do not believe in some hereafter, please reconsider. It really isn’t a bad idea. It could be comforting in troubled times.

I have been around for a very long time and have had a number of experiences. I have many stories to tell and a lot to say. I am delighted to have a platform.