Heaven Can Wait

I’m not entirely sure what went down at Sunday School this weekend, but as Justin was going to bed Sunday night, he informed me that he did not want to die, and that heaven was stupid, and that he didn’t like God or Jesus, and didn’t want to be with them, and would kill everyone up there.

Alarming words from a five year-old, but I took this to mean that if going to heaven means that you have to die first, then screw that, he doesn’t want to go, and he’s going to deal with anyone who was involved in putting him there.

I guess I didn’t realize that this last month has taken its toll on his little psyche. The father of a baby at his daycare passed away suddenly last month. My uncle died after a long illness. And I know he heard Barry and I discussing a young woman we were acquainted with who was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. Justin wasn’t close to any of these people, but death isn’t a subject that’s touched his life personally in any form until now.

We had a talk about dying and heaven that night. By the end of it, he still did not have a favorable opinion of heaven. But in the few days since that discussion, he’s asked a lot of questions, and seems to be processing it, and is maybe a little more accepting.

This morning he tried to get the idea straight in his mind. “Mom, when you die on earth, you’re alive up in heaven?”

Tonight as I was making dinner, he asked, “Mom? Where do you sleep in heaven? Do you have a bed there?” I told him that I was sure you had a bed in heaven, maybe it’s a really soft one on top of a cloud. I think that’s what he needed to hear, that there would be a place for him, and he’d be comforted and safe.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011


3 thoughts on “Heaven Can Wait

  1. My daughter hasn’t had death as close to her as your son has, but she saw the neighbors cat get run over, and she witnessed a very severe accident shortly after that – she was about 3 at the time these things happened. She still talks about them.

    The most personal experience was the neighbors cat, Buttons, the neighbors came and put the cat in a box (and tossed it!! but she doesn’t know that part).

    So she says when a person dies their body gets put in a box – but then they go live with Jesus.

    Recently she shared a story with us:

    Buttons died, and his family was sad. But he went to live with Jesus, he was red. Buttons was happy living with Jesus, Jesus took care of him and kept him safe in his new life, he gave Buttons a magic potion, and he lived forever.

    When we discuss Jesus we talk about Jesus dying for our sins and how believing in Jesus means we will live forever. We talk about how the people around him will be sad, but how wonderful it is living with Jesus.

    It’s a topic I’d prefer not to talk about, especially when she brings up an immediate family member dying, but she does seem content with the discussion so far.

  2. Wow, that’s really scary for a tiny kid to see. That’s a very sweet story, though. I’m the same way, I’ll answer questions as they come up, but try not to dwell on the matter. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I have a friend, who’s grandfather passed away. That friend’s 10 year old son took it very hard that his great-grandfather was gone. His parents talked to him about how not to worry, that Grandpa was in heaven with Jesus and how wonderful it was there! No one ever got sick, everyone was kind, it was beautiful and so on and so on, trying to console the poor child.
    It back-fired.
    Now, he doesn’t want to live any more, he wants to go to heaven! If it’s so great and wonderful there, why do we want to stay here on earth?
    Church go-ers they are not, but very much believe in God, any advice?

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