Woyaya: Going Together, Or Not At All

Somewhere along the way in my theological education and work, I came across the saying:

We either go to heaven together, or we don’t go at all.

When I heard it, it jolted me, and almost instantly, I knew it was true.  I think that’s the day I became a Universalist.

I am much less interested in whether we think that there is a heaven (or hell) after death than I am with the implications for human progress.  We all like to take pride in our accomplishments, and well we should.  Human progress includes individual progress in any endeavor that we consider of value: learning to read, learning to color inside the lines, learning to catch a ball, graduating a school, finding a job, enjoying a job, finding a life partner, coming up with a good idea, successfully arriving at a destination on a trip, starting a company that is successful, building, painting, or writing something with your own hands, creating anything that you set out to create.  Progress in human endeavor is worth celebrating however small or large.

A few years ago, I was invited to the UK to offer workshops for Latin teachers there.  The trip meant flying to Manchester, England and then taking a train to Sheffield, and then a bus within Sheffield to the University.  After my workshops because of an airplane delay, I was able to visit friends in Wales.  That meant a bus, to a train to another train.  Not accustomed to this kind of public transit, I was really terrified of my ability to make all of these connections. From my computer in our kitchen in Lawrenceville, GA, I bought all of the plane, train and bus tickets that I needed.  I arrived in each place, and secured those tickets which I had purchased digitally, and one by one, made each connection.  Every connection felt like a huge accomplishment!  How silly that would sound to Britons who do this sort of thing every single day.

Truth be told? In almost all of the connecting stations and cities, I had to ask for help, and in every single place, kind and patient human beings helped me find the right station, the right track, the right seat, the right bus.  I got there!  But I only got there because of the generosity of others.

We all are going–on the journeys of our lives.  We all know and celebrate certain successes.  And, really the truth be told–not a single one of us ever does it all on our own.

We either go to heaven together, or we don’t go at all.

Bob Patrick

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