By Ellen Holloway
I was invited to a party on a Friday night in college. I was in a bad mood, I’d had a bad week, and I was tired of dealing with people in general. When I got the invite, I told the person I’d go, knowing full well I would just stay home on Friday night and watch Gilmore Girls.
Friday rolls around and someone asks if I’m going to the party, and I decline saying I’ve got tons going on and I won’t be able to make it out. Then comes Friday night around 10 pm. I’m in my PJs, and my roommates offer one last time if I want to go to the party. I’ve now kind of changed my mind, but there’s not enough time for me to change and I’m already in too deep with this whole not going thing that I say no again.
Then the Snapchats start coming. Everyone is laughing and having fun. Some graduates no one has seen in months come from out of town to say hi and hang out. I’m starting to feel like I should have gone. But no my mind says you’re tired. You’ve had a terrible week. Everyone is having fun without you, so there’s no reason to go. Disappointed and a little angry at myself, Gilmore Girls is no longer cutting it, so I head to bed.
The next day, my roommates start telling stories. All the fun I missed out on. All the people that were there. Then I got some text messages. “Missed you last night,” “Where were you? You missed out on Johnny’s fire dance moves,” and “OMG Melissa showed us this new card game, but you missed it!”
I missed out. I missed something really special. Something really fun. That made it even worse. I longed to go back and make a different decision earlier in the week. I wished I had just gotten up and gone to the party last night. People did miss me and want me there. Also, I missed being there with those people.
This is kind of what I imagine Heaven and Hell is like.
We are all invited to the party. It’s an incredible party. Everyone is there: friends we haven’t seen in years or even our whole lives are there waiting for us to come. And they are all having a BLAST.
We get invited so many times. By God, by friends, by family. And so often we say no. I’m too busy to go to Mass. I’m too tired to pray. I’ve got so much on my plate right now that all I can think about doing is watching Gilmore Girls.
I don’t want to do that. I want to be at that party celebrating with God and all the Saints. I want to cheer on everyone on Earth to get to Heaven to celebrate with me. I’m not a big fan of suffering, so eternal pain and suffering sounds pretty terrible to me.
So every time I try to say no to God, I think about that night in college. The disappointment I felt that night is only a tiny fraction of the emotion I will feel if I don’t get to heaven. And I was pretty disappointed. So next time you’re too busy to go to mass or pray or read the bible, think about eternity. Think about eternal joy and celebration. Think about saying yes to that invitation. When you turn away, you’re pushing back the timeline for the eternal party.
I beat myself up about not going to that party because I missed out on the best party of the year. Imagine how it will feel if I’m in Hell beating myself up about missing literally the best party in all of existence.