By Johanne James

Let me begin by saying there is no such place called hell that any man could take you that you couldn’t take yourself.
I have been there personally. I have created my own little hell and my own little heaven. So if heaven and hell are a state of mind then there is no such physical place called hell. For hell is war, poverty, starvation and loss. But heaven is love …. I think. If you believe in heaven and hell, God and the devil, then I suggest you tread carefully. For you may end up in a place you have no desire to. But, what is your perception of heaven or hell?
Muhammed Ali’s perception of hell would be to pick up one grain of sand from the Sahara desert every thousand years until it is completely cleared of sand. My perception of heaven is possibly doing the best drum solo ever, that even God himself stands and applauds me. My perception of hell would be total suffocating darkness, a black void. Or not having enough money to buy myself a pair of drumsticks. We’ve been given these ideas over the centuries, but in actual fact nobody knows. Nobody has ever been to heaven or hell and come back and told us about it. So until somebody does, I ask what do we really have to fear? Do we fear, fear itself or the idea of fear? Should we love or fear God or the devil? I have no idea. It is said that God is love, but then why are we suffering here so much with raging wars, starvation, disease, pestilence?
There is a lot of beauty in spite of this though. I have beautiful friends, a wonderful family. I am blessed to have my health and given the ability to play drums and the opportunities to travel. Without all that my life would be hell. June 10th 1998 I nearly lost my life in a motorcycle crash. The worst I could have lived with would be to have ended up paralysed in a wheelchair, locked inside my own body. Not being able to move and constantly and totally reliant on someone else to do everything for me. Luckily it didn’t happen, so I will create a little bit of heaven for myself. We take so many things for granted, little things that others do not have. These are our little slices of heaven and we often don’t recognise or appreciate them. We complain that we do not have enough of what we want, not necessarily what we need. We cannot perceive eternity. I couldn’t perceive feeling that good for so long. It may well get boring. In closing I would like to say that whatever your perceptions are, even if you don’t believe, I wish you all the best. Whatever you do believe you must strive for. I personally would rather go to heaven, because I have already been to hell.

Thanks for listening.

Johanne James


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