Friday, December 7, 2012

Heaven...

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

We had been out and about purchasing fresh sand for Crystal, the hermit crab that will most likely never die because she grosses me out.  Madalyn selected a bright pink and white, and we found a cheap Sterilite box to keep her in so she would have more room to roam about.  Scott drilled holes in the plastic top, and Madalyn spread the fresh sand, mixing her fingers through the white and obnoxious pink to blend a lovely lighter shade.  We placed Crystal in her new home, and she seemed pleased.  Madalyn was as well.

Later that evening, as I asked for my goodnight kiss, we had the following conversation:

"I bet Gammie likes that sand, Mama."
"Oh, I bet she does..."
"You know, we are with her all the time."
"Oh, really..."  At this point I thought she may be confused, thinking that Gammie is with us in our hearts even though she's not physically here with us.  This is something we've talked about before.
"Yeah, we're with her all the time.  We have a house up there, too.  And she's with us in our house, and she has Crystal and Buddy and Millie, too.  They're her pets now, too.  She can see everything because we're already with her."

Her words stunned me.

"That's a really neat way to think about heaven.  I like it... I like it a lot," I said, bewildered and intrigued at the same time.  She amazes me, the words that come from her mouth so pure and unadulterated, so matter of fact but not sharp in any way.

Truth is, it's really hard to be forced to sit down and talk about heaven with your children.  Not in a we'll be there one day sort of way, but in a your Gammie is about to go there way.  I don't know how many people reading these words have had to have that conversation with a seven and ten year old, but it's tough, and there are tears, confusion, and hurt on both the child and adult side.  It's one I will never forget.  And I venture to say neither one of my children will ever forget it either.

But then there are subsequent conversations about heaven with your kids, ones that you can have once someone you all deeply love has gone ahead of you.  Conversations, words, thoughts, ideas we get to bounce around because of such a great loss.  Because of our Gammie's physical death, we are able, as a family, to talk about heaven in a different way, to think about love and spiritual connection differently than I ever dreamed possible.  To discuss grace and forgiveness and the promise of heaven in such a tangible way, as real as our sweet Gammie was to us before she passed.  It's a blessing in the midst of a heavy loss.  Heaven and salvation becomes less about what's written in a book and more about an experience to them.  And, for that, I am grateful

Maybe Madalyn is on to something.  I think about what would make my mother happy.  She would be surrounded by all of those she loved.  Her mother and sister who reached heaven before her.  Her relatives that she left behind.  Maybe she's surrounded by all those souls already.  Maybe not.  Maybe that's just how my sweet and surprisingly philosophical almost eight year old can make sense of heaven in her mind.  Whatever the case may be, it's lovely way to think about where my mom is.  And I firmly believe our souls are forever connected even now as they are separated by earthly atmosphere.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.  {Jesus, Mark 10:14-15}

1 comment:

Erika Kaplan said...

I know we talked about this and it still gives me chills. I like it too. Maybe that's why we long for Heaven because part of us is already there.