By Alex Blackwell
“For some reason I can’t explain, I know St. Peter won’t call my name. Never an honest word but that was when I ruled the world.” – Chris Martin (Coldplay), from Viva La Vida
Christians believe St. Peter, who was one of the twelve original Disciples of Christ, stands in front of the gates to heaven and is charged with the responsibility of announcing, upon our deaths, who is entering heaven and who is not.
The belief is we are not guaranteed a spot in heaven – we have to earn it. Only upon hearing our names called, are our souls allowed to enter into a blissful eternity.
How we live our lives, how we love the ones closest to us, the honesty we demonstrate and the choices we make all determine if we will be included on St. Peter’s list (or some other list for that matter). Conscious self-examination is needed on a daily basis otherwise we run the risk of missing out on something wonderful.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, and even in the absence of any spiritual connection or association, each one us has the responsibility of leaving this world in a little better condition than how we found it. This is because we are all a part of the human condition.
Brother looking after brother and sister looking after sister helps to ease the pain, suffering, oppression and disappointment we experience. To continue to live, exist, and survive in this world, and in the next world, humans need one another.
There are many places we can look to find the code, the answers, we need when its time to pass from this life to the other. However, as complex as life gets at times, the best answers can also be the least complicated.
In the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, author Robert Fulghum provides a blueprint for this simplification and helps me to paint some context for how I want to live my life so I will hear St. Peter call my name.
Share Everything. Yes, share the cookies and the toys, but also share your experiences, your fears, your accomplishments your love and your heart. Others will benefit from what you have learned.
Play Fair. Remain honest and tell the truth. Seek opportunities for mutual gain with the people in your life. Lift others up and be mindful of their needs as well as your own.
Don’t Hit People. Violence and aggression are only temporary measures to get someone’s attention and obedience. True and lasting respect is earned by listening and responding appropriately. None of us have the right to force our will upon someone else’s.
Put Things Back Where You Found Them. Respect what belongs to others. Care for the things you have in your life and watch them continue to grow and flourish.
Clean Up Your Own Mess. Take 100% responsibility for your actions. We are responsible for the decisions we make and we are accountable to our family and friends for our words and deeds.
Don’t Take Things that Aren’t Yours. Honor the boundaries set by others. Don’t claim ideas or thoughts that are not your own. Allow love to happen naturally. If it goes away, don’t grasp it so tightly you damage, or kill its spirit or potential to love again.
“Goldfish and hamsters and white mice even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.” – Robert Fulghum
Say You’re Sorry When You Hurt Somebody. Be humble and show regret when appropriate. Ask for forgiveness and allow your soul to be cleansed by the healing it offers.
Warm Cookies and Cold Milk are Good for You. Take good care of yourself. Fill yourself up with what gives you the most energy and the most passion. Self-care is just as important as caring for everyone else in your life – you are just as worthy to receive the warmth it provides.
Live a Balanced Life. Work hard and play hard, too. Follow your heart’s desire while you provide the basic necessities.
When You Go out into the World, Watch out for Traffic, Hold Hands and Stick Together. Life is meant to be shared. You have the responsibility to watch over others and to help keep them warm and safe. The human bond, the human connection, requires this from us.
Like everyone else, I not sure how much time I have left. Rather than living with fear or regret, I choose to embrace each day and live each day to its fullest the best that I can. Along the way, however, I’m preparing and getting ready for my eventual reality.
When the moment arrives my hope is I won’t be waiting anxiously to hear if St. Peter calls my name. Instead, I will walk in the direction of his voice. Upon hearing my name, I will stop before going any further. I will take a brief moment to acknowledge my efforts and the efforts of others. I will say a quick prayer of thanksgiving as my soul evaporates into the light to begin its next journey.
Life does continue for all of us. We don’t have to rule the world to make certain this happens; we just have to remember to take care of each other along the way.