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When I Get To Heaven

Now it's time for Silly Songs With...

I wrote this song, “When I Get To Heaven,” several years ago now. This particular performance was recorded earlier today, and yet there are many, many different attempts and iterations.

Before we start, I wanted to offer a couple content warnings:

  • This song deals with the concept of the afterlife, in a comedic matter. Whether you’re a person of faith, or dealing with a sensitive grief or loss, the afterlife is often not a joking matter — in fact, it can be quite deadly serious. If humour+heaven aren’t a good fit for you right now, it’s okay to sit this one out.

  • This song is a “character” song — that is, unlike many of my other songs, it’s not written from “my” personal perspective. It instead occupies a fictional point-of-view — which, I think you’ll soon see, it’s likely the case that nobody actually holds.

I’ve tried many ways to record and share the concept of this song over the years. It’s challenging for me!

  • First, because of the sensitive nature of the content, I don’t want to willy-nilly release it without context and explanation.

  • Second, because it’s a “character” song, I don’t know what style or voice to use!

    • I’ve tried singing it in the form of a multi-voice singalong: that version (along with some extra commentary) was shared last week on YouTube.

    • I’ve tried singing it as a cackling villain, as a children’s choir, as myself..

    • In the end, I decided to share an unpolished, unadorned version so you can get a sense of the song, and offer your own input! What style works? How do you imagine it being performed?

  • Thirdly, because I’m terrified. I know, in various season in my life, ideas of heaven, hell and the afterlife have played a significant role. People I care about carry various views of heaven, and I don’t like ruffling feathers.

And yet, it’s important for me to share this. It’s been healing to write it and sing it. Humour and laughter can create such releases, and this ridiculous song has helped me name and let go of many unhealthy ways of thought. When this song first came into being, the release of joy was like warm bath. I hope that as the absurdities and contradictions find you in this ridiculous song, that you too will experience some lightness.

Lyrics are below, press play on the video above — and pop down below the lyrics for some continued questions when we’re done. (Hit reply or leave a comment if you’re so inclined!)

WHEN I GET TO HEAVEN

Lyrics:

When I get to heaven, well I got to know

Will I hear the screaming coming from below?

Or will there be a button I can press to mute,

So I don’t have to listen to the hollers and the hoots

Of all those in cahoots

With Satan and his army in their army boots?

When I get to heaven, well I got to ask

Will there be a chance for me to just relax?

Or is it going to be just like it was on earth:

An incessant competition just to prove my worth

And not attract a curse

From the one who made me, long before my birth?

When I get to heaven, with my special pass

Is there going to be some kind of servant class?

Or are we gonna have to take our turns with chores

Motivating people with some stickers on the door?

Some kind of star rewards?

Or maybe all the angels, they’ll sweep up the floor?

When I get to heaven I can’t wait to see

All the pleasant presents God has planned for me!

I wonder just how many minutes it will be before

I’ll have to take ‘em back and go return ‘em to the store

Gift receipts galore

Casting down my crowns before the glory of the Lord!

When I get to heaven ‘cause my time is done

And I hear my savior tell me “Good job, son!”

I can’t wait to watch the world get blown to bits

Everything erupting in a big apocalypse

I’ll wag my fingertips

At all the silly heathens who couldn’t follow tips

When I get to heaven, I’ll be singing hallelujah

Pumping my fist, looking down and yelling “Boo-yah!”

I know it’s kinda sad that they’ll be burning in the pits

But kinda serves ‘em right to think it’s safe to just exist

Instead of trying to switch

To try and be a Christian, psyched I’m on the list!


A little more story, thought and questions

Okay, wow. Thanks for listening. Two questions:

  • First: what comes up for you as your hear this song? What stirs in you that feels like “good trouble”?

  • What are you noticing as these character-driven contradictions get sung out?

As disturbing as this song is — puts on full display a cartoonish, squeamish striving for self-advancement at the expense of others — it also invites some beautiful curiousity.

Let me know how this song hits you, by email or in the comments.


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Kevan Gilbert Notes🎶📝
Kevan Gilbert Notes🎶📝
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