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.