Missy Mae was a haughty little squinty-eyed smile-at-your-face, sneer-behind-your-back kind of girl. She knew the ways of the world and she made sure to let you know that she knew the ways of the world – her ways.
Her ways meant one thing – if you went to church, you were going to Heaven, but if you didn’t go to church, you were going to Hell. Life was simple for her. Either you went to church and you would be rewarded with Heaven or you didn’t go to church and your punishment was everlasting Hell. You could serve food to the foodless, provide homes for the homeless, protect abused and battered children, and donate 25% of your income to help charitable organizations, but if you didn’t go to church, you were going to Hell. Period!
And she would test you. Did you go to church today? Did you go Sunday? She would shake her head in disgust to let you know how wrong you were, and then she would invite you to go to her church every time she saw you. We imagined that she kept track of how many times she asked so she could tell God on the day she died and found herself in Heaven staring at the pitiful morons in Hell, “I tried, God. I asked 6 million, 5 hundred and 75 times for them to accompany me to church and they said no every time.”
Even some of the people she proclaimed to love were doomed to Hell, and with as much sympathy as Missy Mae could muster, she would pout her little lips, cock her little head, and sigh, “I feel so sorry for you.” The problem ate at her like maggots on a dead body.
She would repeat – relentlessly – “I’m so worried about you! If you don’t go to church, you’re going to Hell! Don’t you want your children to go to Heaven?”
Those of us who heard her diatribes found ourselves sifting through the Ten Commandments, asking each other such ridiculous questions as, “Have you killed anybody lately?” and “Are you coveting your neighbor’s wife?” And then we would laugh uproariously at sad pathetic little Missy Mae who had a boatload of mote in her eyes, but couldn’t see beyond her own hypocrisy.
She would take merchandize from the place she worked when she thought nobody was looking. Nobody dared confront her, because she would come up with a reason or an excuse saying that she was donating the items or taking them to the salvage yard, but they always mysteriously appeared in her house.
Hey! Wait a minute! Isn’t not stealing one of the Ten Commandments? Apparently Missy Mae thinks that the commandments are merely suggestions for her, because we also find her lying when she’s not passing judgement on one person or another – all of whom, of course, are going to Hell.
Missy Mae has always been a chronic complainer, too. Nothing looks the way Missy Mae thinks things are supposed to look, nobody acts appropriately, mothers don’t raise their children properly, and nobody – and I mean nobody – has a life worse than hers. She and her husband had a healthy baby who required a lot of attention (don’t all babies?). Even though a couple of her coworkers raised 3 and 4 children, all of whom were babies at one time, each of whom required a lot of attention – her baby required more work than any other baby – ever – on the entire planet.
Missy Mae was born with an illness, too, so even though one of her coworkers almost died in childbirth and had a physical problem too, Missy Mae decided to work only two days a week. Fortunately, because she is so rude to customers, she often stays home from work on one of those two days, because she is just way too tired after working for several hours on the other day.
Nobody, according to Missy May works harder than Missy Mae does and nobody understands the pressures of being a working mom. Nobody!
On the day that Missy Mae died, the poor girl found herself in a state of utter confusion. She couldn’t figure out why Heaven was filled with people she just knew were supposed to be sent to Hell. Her entire world turned upside down. She was stunned to see that non-churchgoer Louisa, who left behind 5 children when she succumbed to the disastrous effects of cancer, enjoying herself in Heaven. Louisa had worked at a home for abused and abandoned children before she died. But she didn’t go to church, and therefore, Missy Mae demanded of God that Louisa be sent to Hell – immediately!
And then she saw loose-lipped Larry, who always said whatever was on his mind. Thought he was so funny. Missy Mae didn’t trust people who acted happy all the time. How could he be happy when he worked three jobs to support his physically disabled wife and their 3 children? Yeah he was affable and friendly all right, and he helped his elderly neighbors by mowing their lawns in the summer and shoveling their driveways in the winter, but he didn’t do to church on Sunday! Wipe that smile off your face, Larry! Missy Mae plans to talk to God about you, too!
Missy Mae looked around. “Well, there’s another shocker! What’s Drunk Harry doing here?” Hell-bound Harry, she always called him, must have died from an alcohol overdose, Missy Mae surmised. I guess what’s nice about Harry dying is that all of his kids were already gone after they died in that bus accident. But none of them should be HERE – in Heaven, Missy Mae complained, because NONE of them went to church! They should be SUFFERING IN HELL, something she had been preaching her whole life.
Missy Mae started going a little crazy. We heard her cry from the other side of the glass, “Why are so many Democrats here? Nothing makes sense anymore!”
We all waved to her from our side of the glass as we feasted on cheese, grapes, and wine. A waiter brought her a tray with bread and water and she turned a whiter shade of pale when she saw the ultimate non-church-goer, Leah, the woman who tried to tell her that going to church wasn’t the way to Heaven at all – that treating others with love, kindness, and respect was all that was needed. She had the audacity to tell Missy Mae that Jesus didn’t want us to worship him. Jesus wanted us to worship God, the God that resided within all of us, the heathen! Leah raised a toast to celebrate Life in the Afterlife.
When Missy Mae saw Jesus feasting with Leah and the others, she stomped her little foot and cried out to him, “It’s not fair! It’s just not fair! Those people didn’t even go to church! Just look at them engaging in debauchery!” The glass wall that separated Missy Mae from the celebrators would have dissolved if Missy May had realized that the reason she was sent to Hell was for being so judgmental. Hell, it turns out, is reserved for judgmental people who are allowed to watch nonjudgmental people, people who treated others as they wanted to be treated – with dignity, respect, and love – enjoy themselves in Heaven.