You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And thatâ€™s when you met me.
â€œWhatâ€¦ what happened?â€ You asked. â€œWhere am I?â€
â€œYou died,â€ I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
â€œThere was aâ€¦ a truck and it was skiddingâ€¦â€
â€œYup,â€ I said.
â€œIâ€¦ I died?â€
â€œYup. But donâ€™t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,â€ I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. â€œWhat is this place?â€ You asked. â€œIs this the afterlife?â€
â€œMore or less,â€ I said.
â€œAre you god?â€ You asked.
â€œYup,â€ I replied. â€œIâ€™m God.â€
â€œMy kidsâ€¦ my wife,â€ you said.
â€œWhat about them?â€
â€œWill they be all right?â€
â€œThatâ€™s what I like to see,â€ I said. â€œYou just died and your main concern is for your family. Thatâ€™s good stuff right there.â€
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didnâ€™t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
â€œDonâ€™t worry,â€ I said. â€œTheyâ€™ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didnâ€™t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If itâ€™s any consolation, sheâ€™ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.â€
â€œOh,â€ you said. â€œSo what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?â€
â€œNeither,â€ I said. â€œYouâ€™ll be reincarnated.â€
â€œAh,â€ you said. â€œSo the Hindus were right,â€
â€œAll religions are right in their own way,â€ I said. â€œWalk with me.â€
You followed along as we strode through the void. â€œWhere are we going?â€
â€œNowhere in particular,â€ I said. â€œItâ€™s just nice to walk while we talk.â€
â€œSo whatâ€™s the point, then?â€ You asked. â€œWhen I get reborn, Iâ€™ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life wonâ€™t matter.â€
â€œNot so!â€ I said. â€œYou have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just donâ€™t remember them right now.â€
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. â€œYour soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. Itâ€™s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if itâ€™s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, youâ€™ve gained all the experiences it had.
â€œYouâ€™ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you havenâ€™t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, youâ€™d start remembering everything. But thereâ€™s no point to doing that between each life.â€
â€œHow many times have I been reincarnated, then?â€
â€œOh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.â€ I said. â€œThis time around, youâ€™ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.â€
â€œWait, what?â€ You stammered. â€œYouâ€™re sending me back in time?â€
â€œWell, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.â€
â€œWhere you come from?â€ You said.
â€œOh sure,â€ I explained â€œI come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know youâ€™ll want to know what itâ€™s like there, but honestly you wouldnâ€™t understand.â€ â€œOh,â€ you said, a little let down. â€œBut wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.â€
â€œSure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you donâ€™t even know itâ€™s happening.â€
â€œSo whatâ€™s the point of it all?â€
â€œSeriously?â€ I asked. â€œSeriously? Youâ€™re asking me for the meaning of life? Isnâ€™t that a little stereotypical?â€ â€œWell itâ€™s a reasonable question,â€ you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. â€œThe meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.â€ â€œYou mean mankind? You want us to mature?â€
â€œNo, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.â€
â€œJust me? What about everyone else?â€
â€œThere is no one else,â€ I said. â€œIn this universe, thereâ€™s just you and me.â€
You stared blankly at me. â€œBut all the people on earthâ€¦â€
â€œAll you. Different incarnations of you.â€
â€œWait. Iâ€™m everyone!?â€
â€œNow youâ€™re getting it,â€ I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
â€œIâ€™m every human being who ever lived?â€
â€œOr who will ever live, yes.â€
â€œIâ€™m Abraham Lincoln?â€
â€œAnd youâ€™re John Wilkes Booth, too,â€ I added.
â€œIâ€™m Hitler?â€ You said, appalled.
â€œAnd youâ€™re the millions he killed.â€
â€œAnd youâ€™re everyone who followed him.â€
You fell silent.
â€œEvery time you victimized someone,â€ I said, â€œyou were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness youâ€™ve done, youâ€™ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.â€
You thought for a long time.
â€œWhy?â€ You asked me. â€œWhy do all this?â€
â€œBecause someday, you will become like me. Because thatâ€™s what you are. Youâ€™re one of my kind. Youâ€™re my child.â€
â€œWhoa,â€ you said, incredulous. â€œYou mean Iâ€™m a god?â€
â€œNo. Not yet. Youâ€™re a fetus. Youâ€™re still growing. Once youâ€™ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.â€
â€œSo the whole universe,â€ you said, â€œitâ€™s justâ€¦â€
â€œAn egg.â€ I answered. â€œNow itâ€™s time for you to move on to your next life.â€
And I sent you on your way.
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