“It looks like heaven’s shining down.” That’s what he says, my little boy with eyes of clearest blue. It’s Sunday morning, and we’re on our way to church.
I look up, to the left, and sure enough. In a sky covered over with a blanket of gray, I see it. There’s a slit, a tear in the clouds to the east, looking for all the world as though heaven’s floor has split fair open, and the glory, it’s shining down.
Like that, my thoughts return to the day we just had. On a crisp, fall morning beneath a bright, blue sky, our neighbor flew to heaven amidst glorious autumn leaves, angels attending his passage.
Glancing up from my work, I’d seen movement in the yard and sent a son to check. He’d burst back into the house, shouting, “Mom, they’re doing CPR. It’s a man!” Heart pounding, I’d dashed to join him and the effort already underway. Kneeling there in the grass beside our stricken neighbor, prayers formed instant on lips. Asking help. Mercy. Grace.
Despite the valiant efforts of the stranger who’d come and my own son, it was not to be. He was gone. Graduated. Walked into eternity as November sun shone down. Raising my face to the sky, brilliant in its blue, I knew the utter peace amidst chaos that comes to his children. And the peace, as he’d promised, passed all understanding.
That night, still reeling, I’d slipped into bed with my littlest boy. Warming there beneath his comforter, we talked about heaven. We spoke of new bodies. Talked of the happiness of those who go, of the sadness of those who stay.
In the darkness of his room, we prayed for our neighbors two doors down and asked for the peace of the Savior. I answered his questions the best I knew how, seizing these teachable moments. As his eyelids grew heavy, I marveled aloud that one day, God would gather all of his kids together with him. And that, we said to each other, would be always. Forever. In heaven with Jesus to stay.