Mapping Heaven and Hell

I was out running errands the other day, when it was 47ºF and I was wearing a tweed blazer and fedora, grinning into the sunlight and enjoying a break from the snow. It occurred to me how much happier I was – and I’m generally pretty happy these days – with that adjustment in temperature. Today it snowed 4 inches and the thermometer dropped to single digits. I am somewhat less thrilled.

What hit me was just how closely these two states – happy and otherwise – sit within me. So much of it is due to external conditions. The weather, the economy, the actions of others. But the difference between these two experienctial states – this heaven or hell – is anchored internally. Not only in ones responses to life’s mishaps, mayhem and sporadic blessings, but in ones inner perspective on how we fit into the maelstrom of Life. 

I bought my first house back in my 30’s and found myself living between two families in very similar houses. On the one side was a drunken husband and bitter wife, who never seemed to communicate with each other in anything less than a growl or shout. On the other side lived a family of Eastern European immigrants who always seemed cheerful and connected. So close and yet so far from each other. It struck me that I was living between heaven and hell. This was particularly apt, since I was in the midst of solving my own internal delimas that had me sometimes in deep pain and at other times in ecstatic bliss. It seemed at times that all the different parts of me were trying to decide which part of the map to live on. 

Eventually I came down firmly on the sire of heaven. My beloved moved back to Cincinnati from Chicago and we settled in, often sharing a pint of Häagen-Dazs as we did so. It wasn’t too long before that house just didn’t suit our needs any longer and we moved into a larger, more heavenly place that no longer startled an unseen border. 

Its worth considering, which part of the map do you chose to live in?  


 © Kenn Day 2017