Somewhere in the stories of California and the counting of gifts, and just LIVING, some days have come and gone that are just so completely gone that they catch at my heart and make the tears prickle at the back of my eyelids.  I feel like they were somehow stolen from me.  Days with Youngest Daughter, busy days when our Grandbaby came and went without the kind of celebration I like to make when she is here, hours with my Sweet Mama that seem to be flitting through my helpless hands at a heart stopping rate.  She looks so frail to me these days.

Sometimes I think that, living with a Hospice nurse, we hear so much of the heartache in this old world.  And tell me again that the age of technology is so wonderful.  I guess it is.  It broadens our scope of friends, yes.  However, in that broadening, there are stories that are so poignant that I almost have to close my eyes against the feeling that wells up inside.  And then, given the magnitude of that scope, I cannot begin to keep up with all of them the way I would like to.  But oh!  How very much they have enriched my life.

Tonight I read over at @GrannyHummingbird . . . Jeff is between third base, and home plate, on his “way home”.  My heart ached for her, for her family and for those who are keeping watch.  That one statement gripped my heart, and I walked out into the kitchen and repeated it our Hospice nurse girlie, Deborah, on her way to the home of a patient who is dying.  When she got in around 11pm, She told me that she used the analogy with the family tonight.  “It is so appropriate, Mama,” she said.  “I am grateful that you told me.  I love it.”

Home.  Heaven.  It has been so much on my mind.  People I love already there.  People I love almost there.  People I love on their way to somewhere, and I. am. not. sure. where.  Yes, I do believe that not every person is on their way to Heaven.

“Our Kids” were here tonight.  The three older ones as well as a little brother, just turned two, who has decided that going to Mr. Daniel’s and Ms. Mary Ann’s house is just about the greatest thing there is in his little life.  I had hesitated letting him come, fearing that the older ones would explode into more showing off and unmanageable behaviors, and the LORD KNOWS we have enough of that.  But I finally decided that we could try it, and nothing could have prepared me for how things have gone.  This little brother is the light of their lives.  They tenderly watch over him, tell him the rules and interpret for his (as yet) unintelligible language. 

Daniel and I were trying to organize last minute things tonight before supper when I heard,  “No, Little Seneca, you CAN’T eat yet.  We have to pray.  You’ve gotta’ hold hands to pray.  NO!  You gotta’ hold hands.  That’s how we do it!”  That personal pronoun grabbed my heart!  YES!  Lord Jesus!  YES!

After Mya’s homework was finished, and L.J. and Muffie had read their books to me, I looked at the kitchen in all its disarray, hauled Little Seneca out of the cupboards one more time, saw that it was nine o’clock, and decided that it was time to take them home.  They had ridden bikes, had a golf cart ride, peeked in at the ailing calf and seemingly hadn’t wasted a minute.  But they had been manageable, responsive and cheerful.  There had been almost no whining.  Mya sat in the front seat, homework, reading book, and a fresh loaf of bread tucked up on the dash of the car.   Little Seneca was in his car seat, almost too sleepy to be civil, and Muffie and L.J., both balancing paper plates of three cupcakes, sat in the remaining spaces.  I usually try to tell them stories on the way home about my own life — either when I was a little girl, or from Daniel’s and my days of having children.  Tonight the stories got them to talking about Heaven and what it was like.

Telling children about Heaven when there are so many preconceived ideas can be a bit interesting — but the thing is, they BELIEVE!  They have this innate sense that there is a Heaven and that it will be wonderful, but so little actual, factual knowledge.  What a blessing to have words from God’s Word to share with their open ears and hearts.

“You know, kids,” I said to them, “there are a lot of ideas about what Heaven will be like.  Lots of people say lots of things.  The truth is, we don’t actually know what it will look like, but if you would take your life here, and get rid of all the things you hate most, that is a little bit of what Heaven will be like.  No more death, no more tears, no more pain, no more night, no more parting, no more hunger, no more thirst.  The Bible says that all those things will pass away.  I think Heaven will be the best of the good things here but so much more.”

“Ms. Mary Ann, will we have to take baths?”

“Well, there’s going to be water there, because the Bible talks about the River of Life.  You won’t get dirty in any bad sort of way, but I’m sure you can get into the water if you want to.”

“Won’t we be walking around in some sort of white dresses?

“The Bible says that we will be clothed in garments of light, and yes, it does say something about white robes.  There are people who say, ‘I don’t want to go to to heaven.  It sounds boring.  Walking around playing harps and wearing robes.’ The one thing I know is that it won’t be boring.  And also, whatever we will have to wear, it will not be something that gets in our way.  It will be wonderful!”


And that led to more talk about how we get there, with the opportunity again to share the story of Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  How “No one comes to the Father except through Jesus” and how there will always be people who want to make it “easier” or will preach a different Gospel.

And that gave me cause to tell them once again, “Kids, nothing matters more to me than this:  That you come safely home to Heaven.  Someday, when I walk on those streets, if you are there, it will be make me so incredibly happy.  That is my reason for all of this, so that you kids will know the way to Heaven.”

They ride silently, save for a few more pertinent questions, and once again, my heart beats HOPE. They aren’t perfect.  There is so much I would like to see different.  But they are still children.  Children with soft hearts and a God awareness that urges me to pray.  

“God forbid that I should sin in ceasing to pray (for them) . . .” I Samuel 12:23


Come, Lord Jesus

sr. Miriam Therese Winter, SCMM

Christ come quickly, there’s danger at the door.
Poverty a plenty, hearts gone wild with war.
There’s hunger in the city and famine on the plain.
Come, Lord Jesus, the light is dying,
the night keeps crying: come, Lord Jesus

Want demands a funeral in far too many lands,
The sick go unattended, death deals a heavy hand.
The dreams of men are empty, their cup of sorrow full.
Come, Lord Jesus, the light is dying,
the night keeps crying: come, Lord Jesus

The world awaits in darkness a mighty burst of light,
To set the lame man leaping, to give the blind man sight.
We have the prophet’s promise, we await the Prince of Peace.
Come, Lord Jesus, the light is dying,
the night keeps crying: come, Lord Jesus

The clouds shall send a Savior like soft falling rain,
Yet mighty in his power, to free us from our chains.
His shield will be compassion, his weapon liberty.
Come, Lord Jesus, the light is dying,
the night keeps crying: come, Lord Jesus

Even so, Lord Jesus, COME!


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7 responses to “

  1. Such sweet words from little children sometimes ~

  2. Thanks for posting this. I too was moved by Granny Hummingbird’s description. The valley of the shadow of death is dark and scary and often pain-filled, but He will be with us and take us Home. Thanks also for what you are teaching these dear children. May God continue to guard their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  3. I have tears in my eyes, thank you for this beautiful post. 

  4. The word Hospice just jumped out at me as I read this post.Hospice has become a familar word for our family since one week ago.My Dad was diagnosed two months ago with pancreatic cancer and was told last Friday that chemo hasn’t helped(he had 4 treatments)and that the tumor was preventing stomach contents from entering the small intestine.So heartbreaking to see my once strong,hard-working Dad turning into this weak,frail man who is now dependent on us for meds and food(liquid diet,very limited).Pray with us that God would call him Home soon.Thanks for this post.

  5. Mary Ann reading your post about those kids brought tears to my eyes………….the seeds you are sowing will someday sprout and grow………God’s word doesn’t came back to Him void…….I’m sure you have your “trying” times with these kids but the difference you are making only Heaven will tell…..reminds me of some of the “fresh air” kids mom used to take in every summer from New York City……..they would come for 2-4 weeks…… this day we still have contact with a few…….facebook makes it even more so…..what a blessing you are to them

  6. Thank you, cuz.. thank you

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