False Illusions

A man who had died was waiting at heaven’s gate to enter the kingdom of God. He had lived a perfect life and had a clear idea in his mind what heaven would be like. He had foregone all the earthly pleasures and just knew his rewards were going to be great. He had gone over repeatedly in his mind how much great fun he was going to have in heaven.

As he was waiting, he saw a cloud pass by. As the cloud got closer, he saw people on the cloud having a great time. They were singing, dancing, and having great fun. They were dining on exquisite food, wearing the best clothes, and drinking the best wines, and laughter and merriment echoed through the sky. Yes, that was what he had expected it would be like.

His escort arrived at the gate. The escort told the man that he had lived a good life and he was going to now take him to his new home. The man said, “If it is all the same to you, I would like to live on that cloud!” The escort told the man that it was not possible and that what awaited him was far greater anyway. However, the man persisted so the escort asked him to wait while he went to talk to the “Boss”. Upon returning, the escort stated the “Boss” had always allowed people to choose but made it clear that he would be much happier in his originally intended home. The man replied, “I have often thought of what heaven would be like and forgone the pleasures on earth to get my reward here, so if it’s all the same to you, I want to live on that cloud.” The escort sighed, and then granted his wish.

In an instant, the man was standing in the hottest, smelliest, and most disgusting place he had ever seen in his whole life. The strange noises were blood curdling and the whole place was chaos. He was in Hell.

An escort arrived to take him to his job. “Job?” the man replied. “Yes, we work hard down here,” said the escort. There must be some mistake; the place I requested was a nice cloud with people singing, dancing, and having the best time of their life!” The escort looked puzzled at first and then started laughing hysterically. The man asked why the escort was laughing so hard. The escort replied, “You new people are so funny- you think you can show up here and get an assignment in the advertising department! You think you can get a promotion like that right away!”