I was raised with the idea that when you die and go to Heaven, you must confront the person you hurt the most. I was expecting an ex, my parents or relatives, perhaps and lost friend. I never expected to see myself.
I stood in front of myself. I, or he, seemed so wise, so enlightened.
Like I had always tried to be.
He saw my reaction, and smile. “Who did you expect? For all the pain you’ve caused, you’ve made no one suffer more than yourself.”
I shook my head. I had never been easy on myself, that was certain, but I had caused far more harm to anyone I’d ever loved. I didn’t even belong in heaven in the first place.
“You always wanted to be the best. To be perfect. You created an unachievable goal, knowing you’d never reach it, so that you’d work harder and harder each day. You never allowed yourself to be content, because contentment gives room for mediocrity – and out of all the sins you’ve committed, that was that only one you felt unforgivable.”
I tried to speak, but he interrupted me, his voice raising.
“You wanted to be everything you never could. You strove for perfection, and you let it eat away at you. You idealist. You masochist. You stupid, stupid man.
I’d had enough. “But it forced me to become better. It forced me to strive, to work harder and harder-“
“It forced you to hate yourself. To never be happy with any achievement, not matter how great. To toil, day in and day out, working for your flawed goals. You accomplished plenty, sure, - but it was a double-edged sword, with the sharper edge always pointing towards you.”
He seemed to grow in stature, and he glared at me with a fiery fury.
“You broke yourself from the inside, and you never allowed yourself to be fixed, lest you lose that burning desire to become better. And look where it brought you. Look what it made you do. Look at how you ended it.”
I tried to reply, but the realization brought me to my knees. He walked towards me, and took my hand. He looked me in the eyes.
“Don’t cry,” he said, lifting me up, “this isn’t the Old Testament. God will understand. Suicide is not unforgivable.”