If death is just a part of the big, happy LIFE circle, then why do we call it DEATH? And, why am I crying over the fact that our family’s guinea pig is quietly dying in my daughter’s bedroom tonight. It’s a guinea pig… but, I’m still sad that it has to die.
Top that off with the fact that I just returned home from a funeral for a girlfriend’s husband. This is the THIRD husband, of one of my girlfriends, to have died in less than two years. All of these men were in their 30’s and 40’s and all of these men left behind children — children who’d hoped for more LIFEtime with their dads. Not only have dads died, but sons as well. I’ve watched two friends lose young, teenage sons in the last year and a half. It’s impossible to offer these moms complete comfort. It’s unnatural and unthinkable to embrace these deaths as an intended part of “the circle of life.”
I don’t believe death was part of the original design of our loving Creator. I don’t believe death is His final destiny for His creation. I do believe He has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” And, children admit what is in their hearts. So, as my eternal-hearted daughter sobs over the death of her guinea pig, I must offer her hope. And, this hope must be greater than phrases like “it’s a natural part of life” or the 21st-century-favorite, “it’s all good.” No, it’s not.
So, call me old-fashioned or idealistic or religious. I rely on and revel in the belief that God loves us enough to REFUSE to let our love die after a given number of years on the planet. I believe He has reconciled us to His love. So, I believe that I must tell my child that death is not the end. I believe it’s okay to offer my child the hope of heaven. These beliefs are confirmed for me… in the beautiful sigh of relief when I tell my tearful daughter that it IS so. She can trust God. She can hope for more. She can believe that His love will make it so.