Looking for Heaven?
I went on the Kindergarten field trip on Friday. On the bus ride home, I had the privilege of sitting next to a charming little boy who told me that he was going to throw up. I got a bag for him and hoped for the best. He would give me periodic updates.
"I haven't thrown up yet. But I will!"
Then he noticed that the bus was going in the same direction his family takes to his house, so he got very excited that the entire class seemed to be on their way to visit his family. I told him we were all coming over for dinner.
He asked me if I would hold the bag for him while and after he threw up. I assured him that I would be there for him when and if the time came. And that he would not have to ride home holding a bag of barf.
We got closer to the school, and finally went a different way from his house, and he said: "I live over there, next to Heaven." I looked up in the direction he was pointing, and there was a cemetery there. "I get to walk through Heaven sometimes!"
And it reminded me of my own son, when he was a little tiny guy, and a conversation we had about heaven. I have posted this story before, in September of 2007, but I wanted to post it again, to remind myself of the wisdom of children.
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A few years ago, the family dog passed away. Chelsea was, quite simply, the most wonderful dog in the world, and we all loved her dearly. At the time, we had three children, and I was great with child #4. Telling the kids was the hardest part, of course; the 5 year old took it the hardest...he immediately burst into tears and had many questions about why and how and when and where. The 4 year old was matter of fact. "That's OK; we'll see her in heaven." End of story. The two year old...well, she was two, so if it wasn't about her, she wasn't interested.
A few weeks later, I was walking up the hill to pick up the 5 year old from Kindergarten. I was walking with my four year old, hand in hand, enjoying a rare moment with just him. We weren't talking about anything, just walking. Out of the blue, he says to me, "Mom, I know where Chelsea is." And when I asked him where, he just put his hand over his heart. And I said something like, "Yes, honey, she's in our hearts." Pause. Quiet walking. And then my son: "Heaven is us."
I come back to this story frequently. It brought me up short and made me see my son with new eyes, realizing that he hears and listens and makes connections and understands the world so much more than I know. I try to remember that he, and all of my kids, and all children, have the ability to be open to the world and to know beautiful truths like that one.
We were all children once. We once knew exactly where -- and who -- heaven is. And if we are lucky, we get to have children to remind us.
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