Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Book and a Funeral

Some of you may know that Santa brought me a Nook for Christmas. As a person who loves the look and feel of a book in their hands, I wasn't sure. Would I like this new-fangled electronic reading device? After a few months, the answer is an emphatic "Yes", which leads me to my blog post for today.

I bought the book, "Heaven is for Real", by Todd Burpo for my Nook. Why? Simple. It was inexpensive and had plenty of good reviews. So I figured, why not?

I'm so glad I did. Written simply and from the point of view of a father (who just happens to be pastor of a small Nebraska church), the story describes what happens when Burpo's three year old son, Colton, nearly dies after his appendix bursts.

Without giving away too many details, once Colton recovers, he casually refers to an apparent visit he made to heaven. There are things he mentions that he had no way of knowing. His parents are understandably astounded. Colton's observations astounded me, too, making for a swift and memorable read.

But why, might you ask, am I dedicating a Critter Alley post to this book?

A couple of reasons. All dedicated animal lovers will be happy (though perhaps not surprised) to know
that among other things, Colton reports seeing animals of all kinds in heaven. And why not? You only have to look into a beloved pet's eyes to know they have a soul.

Second, events of this past week made me do a lot of thinking about life after death. My boss of over 30 years passed away after a three year battle with cancer. He was only 61 years old. This was a man who approached every task with a strategic plan. His determination and drive brooked little in the way of discussion. He reminded me of an unstoppable force, and nothing kept him from achieving what he set out to do.

That single minded characteristic annoyed more than a few people, but he never let that fact bother him. His job was his life, and I can't recall a time when he gave less than 1000% to do what he felt was the right thing to do.

So naturally we thought he'd beat cancer, too. Yet it wasn't in the cards.

The experience made me think more about what happens once our short time on earth is over. If you've had any type of religious upbringing, you take on faith that the soul continues on after the body fails. Though faith is a beautiful thing, I must admit the logical part of my brain loved hearing young Colton's observations about what, and who, he saw during his near-death experience. The book brought me a lot of comfort this week, and if you are grieving, it might be something that speaks to your heart, too.

Many people attended my boss's funeral on Thursday, February 17. The sun blazed down on us, providing a beautiful morning that reached 74 degrees. Practically unheard of in Missouri on a mid-February day. It wasn't a surprise for me. I'm pretty sure my boss arranged things. If anyone could, it would be him.

Though plenty of tears flowed, we still had to smile at the thought of our boss negotiating with God to have good weather for his funeral.

You haven't lost any of your skills, Ray. You're just using them in a brand new office.


Alittlesprite said...

Sorry about your boss.
The book sounds interesting. :)
I absolutly love my sony reader, it's nice and light and dosent hurt my wrists holding it for a long period.

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of the boss you had for over 30 yrs. When you work for someone that long they are like family, I used to say that when I worked somewhere for 21 years we were like one big, dysfunctional family. I am so sorry.
This post touched me on so many levels. Your bosses' name was "Ray", so was my Dads' name who I adored (he passed in 2001)
I had seen the interview with the little boy that saw animals and people in his near death experience. (You are right, no surprise with the Rainbow Bridge and all)
Also, I am like you where I must feel a book in my hands, smell it, touch it....I always said I would NEVER get a Nook or Kindle, maybe after reading about your opinion I will give it a second look.

Peggy Frezon said...

Thank you for the book review, I love getting recommendations and this one sounds intriguing. I'm sure there are pets in heaven!

Santa, Minnie and Christmas said...

This is one post I love to read! Thanks for the book review, it sounds interesting. I like the part where Colton reports seeing animals of all kinds in heaven! That was like a confirmation that our pets do go to the Rainbow Bridge, not that we do not know that!!

camillefaye said...

I actually just read this over the holidays. The book mentions a girl named Akiane who paints pictures of heaven, including a painting of Jesus that Colton said was spot on. These children are so fascinating and can offer such hope to the world. I blogged about Akiane's work and posted a few pictures of her paintings. Here's the link:

irishoma said...

Hi Pat,
What a lovely tribute to your boss.

Cattis said...

I was sad to hear about your boss. The book sounds really good. I'll have to see if they got it here.

Linda O'Connell said...

Sorry about your boss. The book lends a ray of hope. My husband's aunt was seriously ill and told us she had gone on a trip. She described Jesus and said there were flowers in the brightest colors she had ever seen. I do hope she visited heaven.

funfunfun said...

Hi! Thanks for following...I'm returning the favor:)

Sorry for your loss.

Sherry said...

Such sad news about your boss but what a fine tribute!

I think there's a place for both e-readers and books; they serve different purposes.


RYKER said...

Wonderful and touching post. 30 years is a long time. I bet you have many wonderful memories.
Glad to hear you like your Nook, I received and IPAD for Christmas and have not had much time to sit down and enjoy it yet...I have an Aussie.

Dee . . . . . said...

Hi Pat!
Thanks for becoming a follower on my blog - Im now following you too :)

So sorry to read about your boss x


Barb Hodges said...

Thank you for honoring your boss on your blog. The book sounds like a good read. Thanks for telling us about it. I have had mixed feelings about the e-readers too. Glad to hear what you had to say.

Tammy said...

What a touching post. I'm so sorry to hear about your boss. Also sounds like a great book, and yes, heaven just wouldn't be heaven without animals. And thanks to Ray for the great weather! ;)

Pup Fan said...

So sorry for your loss... sounds like that book was there just when you needed it most. Thank you for mentioning it - I think I am going to check it out.

Cozy in Texas said...

What a thought provoking post. I remember reading in one of James Herriott's stories where he tells a lady that he believed that animals as loving as dogs must have a soul and would therefore go to heaven. I'm sorry to hear that your boss died at such a young age.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Your boss sounds like someone who impacted your life in a positive way.

I received a Kindle for Christmas and, like you, wasn't sure I'd like it. I adore books--the feel, the smell--and thought I might not be able to convert. I will still buy books that I adore (like Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird) but my Kindle will be packed, too. :)

Lynn said...

Sorry about the loss of your boss. I love his determination. This was a really lovely post.

Cassie said...

Pat, I'd love to read this book. I'm a very horrible book reader though. I buy them, then never get to them. Bad Cassie! Anywhooo, thanks for the mini review. Maybe someday. Also, I never heard of a Nook. All this new-fangled stuff! My condolences to you on the loss of your boss. Sounds like you really admired him.