When our dog took sick this week, I had a nagging feeling that he wasn't long for this world. Unfortunately, I was right. Saturday found us saying our goodbyes to an old, faithful chocolate lab. Then, as a parent, I face the theological decision "do all dogs go to heaven"? Just because a movie said so, doesn't make it so. Try explaining THAT to a three year old little girl.
I admit, I pulled my wide-eyed little girl into my lap as my own tears fell. "Why are you cryin', Momma?"
"Well, honey ... Charlie is going to have to go to Jesus' house." (So much for theology--I'll go on faith)
" 'Cause Charlie is really sick."
"Well, because he is, honey."
"Take him to the doctor."
"We did honey, but the doctor can't make him better. He'll have to go to Jesus' house and Jesus can make him better."
"But I will miss him." She didn't cry. Just stared at me, as if I could make it all better.
"I know, so will I."
"But he won't come home."
"No, he won't. But he'll be all better--and happy there."
My daughter was contemplative and said not a word.
A few minutes later, my husband came home. Charlie was gone, he explained, as he sniffed and coughed. Not from tears, but from the awful influenza and fever he's been suffering from. My daughter's eyes grew bluer and larger and more serious.
"Daddy, YOU should go to Jesus' house, then you'll get better!"
Ohhhhhh, the faith of a child. I learned something this weekend. Heaven is not a threat. Funny, how we view death as the end. The final separation from all who we love. The end all. Finished. Sure we espouse the hope that we have in Jesus, the pearly gates, and all that, but in reality, let's admit, we secretly weep for the goodbyes that must be said.
I'm not saying I don't still dread the day I kiss the face of a loved one, whoever that may be, and usher them from this earth. I wonder what it will be like to watch as my eyes close in finality and see the anxious faces of my children watching over me as I fade away ... it's all very stark in my writer's imagination.
Yet, this weekend, my daughter in simple faith, was willing to say goodbye to Daddy who she would never see again ... so he would be "all better". Faith. Faith in the hope -- the TRUE AWESOME REAL hope that is eternity in Jesus' house, where we're having such joy we don't desire to return. Sure, she's three and doesn't understand the full implications ... but isn't that what Jesus meant when He said to come unto Him as a child ... like a little one ... without imagination, or dread, or logic, or reasoning, or anything but pure. simple. faith?
We bid Charlie farewell on Saturday. Strangely enough, my daughter has yet to cry one tear. She happily announced today to her grandma that Charlie was at Jesus' house and he was all better. May we face eternity with joy, for separation is but a moment, but we WILL be all better.