When I was in (Catholic) elementary school I spent 30 minutes every morning in chapel, an hour each Wednesday in school religious service, an hour every school day in religious studies, a few hours every Sunday in community church, and 15 minutes after school in prayer.
Yet. Somehow. I came away with the belief that when you die, you sorta sit around in your body, rotting underground, until Jesus' second coming when you're judged and get shuffled off to Heaven or Hell.
If you know the real Catholic afterlife belief, then you got me. I obviously don't pay attention in class. Or before class. Or after class. Or on Sundays.
I believed this purely and literally. I had no doubt in my mind that after I died, my soul would sit around in my body until the second coming.
Thus, I became very obsessed with the second coming.
How long was it going to be? Two years? Twenty years? A millenia? (Ok, fine, I didn't know the word millenia back then.) What about people who had been dead for tons of years? What were they doing?
I was convinced I would be horrible at being dead. I wasn't, and am still, not good at sitting still. I'm antsy. So I began to practice.
I would lie (lay? Adrienne, help me out here) on my back, close my eyes, and think to myself, "I'm dead. Now what?" Could I still sleep? Or would my soul be "on" all the time? What could I do with that time? Wouldn't I just go nuts? What about my mom and dad? Could I visit with them?
In my considerable prayer time, I would ask, beg, and plead for Jesus to hurry it up already and come while I was still alive so I wouldn't have to be dead and lie-ing (lying? laying?) around waiting for him. What the heck was he waiting for anyway? Now's a good as time as any, right?
I'm not sure when I shook this belief, but habits die hard and when I go to sleep at night and close my eyes I almost never find sleep because as I lie (it is lie, right?) there in the dark, I still think to myself - now what?