I trekked into Walmart for milk and bread but didn’t make it past the magazines and books.
I looked. I counted.

Eight? How could Walmart stock eight different books, non-fiction books to be precise, all on the topic of the afterlife?
The kind of books that Walmart sells are the kind of books that sell. The discount retailer moves a heap of books out the door by stocking titles with “buzz” already surrounding them.

Lined up face-out on the shelf, they each promised to give me something I needed to know about heaven or hell. I scanned and skimmed them, and found four variations on the theme:

Heaven exists. I’ve seen it. Or, my kid has seen it.

Heaven exists. I’ve read about it in a sacred book.

Hell exists. I spent 23 minutes there.

Hell (sort of) exists. But love wins in the end.

I did not skim these books alone. Next to me, a woman picked up a bright-yellow paperback, the one with the cute, crew cut kid staring out from the cover. She smiled, then she put the book back on the shelf.

“Have you read it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied. “Several times. It’s great!”

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