My Version of Hell

Most have probably heard the Biblical description of hell: a place where the fire is not quenched and the worm never dies.

My version of hell is a bit different. Cold.

I like to inject humor into the things I write, both my books and my blog. But, honestly, I just don’t find cold or being cold funny.

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Cold was funny when we were kids. My siblings and I would throw lemon drops across the frozen pond and watch our Great Danes slip, slide, and skate across the ice to snatch the candy. We laughed like maniacs as the poor long-legged beasts sprawled time and again on the ice. But now…that seems cruel, not funny. What if the ice had broken and the dogs had drowned? What if they had broken their legs or sustained permanent soft tissue damage? Of course, we were out there slipping, sliding and falling right along with them.

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Seriously, how can one find humor in something like cold that can kill you? I remember the time we walked two miles to a neighbor’s house to get two adorable puppies with the idea that our parents would let us keep them once we had them. Wrong. They were the cutest bundles of fluffy brown and white that we had ever seen. We sneaked them past our house and stashed them temporarily in our neighbor’s barn. That meant walking through ice and snow several times a day to feed them, because it was an unusually cold winter. We all suffered frostbite. To this day, my fingers become numb and burn after only a short time in the cold—even when I’m wearing gloves, and my toes are not far behind. It was humiliating to be forced to return the puppies to their owner and admit that our parents would not let us keep them. We cried the two miles from our house to their house to take the precious pups back home. Yet what I remember being even more painful…was the cold.

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Another cold-induced misery I remember is when, as an adult, I went on a church outing in northern Nevada so Luke could have the joy of picking out his own Christmas tree. He had the proper coat and boots for the occasion, and although he got cold like the rest of us, I don’t remember him suffering. As a single parent, I had only been able to outfit one of us with water-proof boots. So while he tromped around in the snow with the other children, engaging in snow battles and building a snow fort while searching for the perfect tree, I walked around in tennis shoes. I think it was the next day before I could feel my toes again.

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Oh, and not to forget the time I caught a snake at the pond to see if it was poisonous or harmless. It was venomous. The water moccasin took exception to being caught and bit me. So while the hospital waited for the anti-venom to be flown in from Atlanta, they froze my arm in a tub of ice water. Once they administered the shot, they thawed my arm. To this day I’m not sure whether it hurt worse to have my arm freeze or thaw.

Nope. I do not find snow beautiful, nor do I weather cold climates well. I’m amazed that after five years of almost never being warm, I’m still in Scotland. It is a lovely country with scenic views in every direction…but it is COLD.

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So keep your Biblical version of hell as a place of raging fire and worms feeding off flesh. That’s the way Jesus described it and Jesus is always right. But I will keep my personal version of a place where it never warms up, my teeth are clattering like ice cubes hitting a glass, and every muscle in my body is stretched painfully tight until I feel like I’m shriveling up like an abandoned pumpkin after Thanksgiving. Oh, yes…and there would be fire in my version of hell because my fingers and toes would burn.

Thankfully, I won’t ever go to hell to see what it’s like because I have Jesus in my heart and He promised, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

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And, thankfully, readers—you won’t have to go find out for yourselves either. Sometimes the best knowledge and wisdom we possess comes not from sticking our hand in the flame to see if it really burns—but in watching someone else and making the decision not to follow their example.

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

13 thoughts on “My Version of Hell

  1. Well said! I too cannot stand the cold. As a kid I use to be very brave and swim in frigid water, but not anymore! Thankfully we have Jesus Christ and he warms up our hearts and keeps the cold away. 🙂

  2. I totally agree, Steph! I was about six when I discovered what serious cold meant (the winter of 1962/3) and I remember crying all the way home from school. I have hated the cold ever since. We are one in that sense!

  3. Indeed we are, Val! I thought about you when I was writing this. I thought, “I bet Val would agree with me and this would be her vision of hell too.” Torture! Thanks for the reblog. Glad you had such a great time on your trip and got such marvelous photos…in spite of the cold!

  4. I read your comment on the adoptingjames blog and decided to follow you after visiting your site. I have a dozen books I want to write, but I’m slow to get them done. Like you, I’m a Christian and prefer reading that genre.
    I don’t particularly like the cold either, but I have Myasthenia Gravis and my muscles do better in cold weather than warm. I live in S Carolina so it’s warm most of the year.

    • Thanks so much for your comment and for following my blog. I’m honored. I am sad to hear that you have Myasthenia Gravis. I can understand that your muscles would do better in cold. I have a friend in North Carolina. She has MS and suffers in the heat. As for wanting to write, don’t give up your dream. I had 150 rejection slips from different publishing companies over the 40 years before I finally got published. Now with self-publishing, the competition is stiff. It’s extremely hard to get one book noticed above all the others that are out there. So if writing books feeds your soul, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. But be realistic and don’t expect to make money writing books. Some people do…but very few. It takes a lot of hard work to market. Marketing is much more difficult than writing! May God bless you and your writing.

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