Heaven – Mother meets her child in heaven that had died (Eugene Field) & “Just in Case You Ever Wonder” by Max Lucado (Dec. 2009)

Susan's Thursday morning note December 31, 2009
Eugene Field's short story of young child meeting mother in heaven
Max Lucado - Just In Case You Ever Wonder (on telling a child about heaven)

Good morning!  Beautiful snow blanket, psychotic cats staring at me with cabin fever, and a perfect cup of coffee with extra filler…..all working together to help me type for you!  Here my mind goes….hoping the neurons kicking slowly can make their way to my fingertips for you!  A few weeks ago I checked out a book written in 1928.  Just the old smell and binding were enough to want me to bring the volume home.  Mother in Modern Story a collection of short stories (often from larger volumes) on mothers.  The story that has stayed in my mind was called The Mother in Paradise by Eugene Field.  On a mother arriving in heaven and searching to see the her own child that had died so long before.  I find that the holidays give more quiet time than other days in the year to think about those that have died that we loved, or we are reminded of friends that we know have had those they loved die (recently, or long ago – irrelevant….the loss…the silence of the phone not ringing with the voice that they’d love to have call…)  This short excerpt of a mother entering heaven once again reminds us of what we have to look forward to….where those we love already see all of our situations from a completely different perspective….and hopefully, their view will help put into perspective our view.

A mother came to the gateway of Heaven.  She was aged and weary.  Her body was bowed and her face was wrinkled and withered, for her burden had been the burden of care and trouble and sorrow. So she was glad to be done with life and to seek at the gateway of Heaven the fulfillment of the Promise that had been her solace through all the hard, bitter years.

An angel met the Mother at the gateway, and put her arms around the drooping figure, and spoke gracious, tender words.  “Whom seekest thou?”  asked the angel.

The mother then goes on to tell the angel how she longs to see her family…her father, mother, husband, children….the story then goes on to describe all the angel showed her and the loved ones she met….Then the Mother saw and knew her dear ones – even though the heavenly life had glorified their countenances, the Mother knew them…and there was great joy to her and to them.  Meanwhile the angel kept steadfastly at her side…

Then the mother turns to the angel in frustration…”There is one who should be of your company whom I do not see – my babe, my little helpless babe that came hither alone so many, many years ago.  My heart fainteth, my breast yearneth for that dear little lamb of mine!  Come, let us go together and search for her; or await me here under these pleasant trees while I search and call in this fair garden for my dear, lost little babe!”

The angel then assures the mother that she will not leave her and will help in the search.  As they walk the angel begins to describe her arrival in heaven…”Shall I tell thee of myself?  For I was a little helpless babe when I came hither to this fair garden and into this heavenly life…I was a babe when I came hither…See how I am grown and what happiness hath been mine!  The compassion of divinity hath protected and fostered me, and hath led me all these years in the peace that passeth all human understanding.  God hath instructed me in wisdom, and He shall instruct thee, too; for all who come hither are as children in His sight, and they shall grow in wisdom and in grace eternally…

The mother was upset, for she wanted to see her little child as a child….sharing her desire to hold in her arms the little babe, to cradle her…

The angel’s response…”Thy child shall be restored to thee, for she yearneth for thee even as thou yearnest for her.  Only with this difference, dear Mother:  Thy child hath known, in the grace of heavenly wisdom, that at the last thy earthly sorrow should surely be rewarded with the joys of the endless reunion in Paradise!”

Mother…”Then she hath thought of me and longed for me to come…she shall know her mother again!”

Angel…”Ay, she loveth thee fondly, and she hath awaited thy coming, lo, these many years.  Presently thine eyes shall be opened and thou shalt see her standing before thee in her heavenly raiment whiter than snow, and around her neck thou shalt see her wearing most precious pearls – the tears which thou hast shed, oh lonely Mother!  and which are the pearls the little ones in Heaven gather up and cherish as an adornment most pleasing unto God and them.”

Then the Mother felt that her eyes were opened, and she turned and looked upon the angel.  And the Mother saw that the angel was her lost beloved child whom she was seeking: not the helpless babe that she had thought to find, but a maiden of such heavenly beauty and gentleness as only the dwellers in Paradise behold and know.  And the Mother spread her arms, and gave a great cry of joy, and folded her very dear one to her bosom…..

I especially liked this thought –  See how I am grown and what happiness hath been mine!  The compassion of divinity hath protected and fostered me, and hath led me all these years in the peace that passeth all human understanding.  One comment my mom made after my dad’s accident…..”If God created Hawaii – we can’t imagine how beautiful God’s own home must be…we wouldn’t be feeling sorry for ourselves if your dad was in Hawaii – so, if he’s somewhere even more incredible….why should we not but think of him in that home?  In such incredible beauty…and in God’s presence?!?”  Do you see why this short story has replayed in my mind….showing me that the thoughts are worth writing for you?

Then yesterday a mother came in to buy a book and as we were reading the thoughts I grabbed it (with a smile!) and told her – “Oh, you’ve got to let me use this for Thursday’s note!” – she had to buy something else!  More thoughts on the beauty of heaven….how we must keep our eternal perspective….keeping the reality of where they are in the forefront of our minds….in God’s presence….with incredible happiness and peace and learning…..As Camden said as a toddler, “Grandpa got smashed and GOT to touch God’s hand!”  Such perspective!  No horror, only awe and anticipation!

In Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado a mother is speaking to her young daughter….The picture book begins with the decision God made to make the little girl – and how glad the mother is.  Then page after page of how special she is…then…

But as you grow and change, some things will stay the same.

            I’ll always love you.

            I’ll always hug you.

            I’ll always be on your side.

    And I want you to know that…just in case you ever wonder.

Then the author goes on to situations where the child feels pain….how the mother is always there loving her….

    And God wants me to make sure you know about heaven.

        It’s a wonderful place.  There are no tears there.  No monsters.  No mean people. 

        You never have to say “good-bye,” or “good night,” or “I’m hungry.”  You never get cold or sick or afraid. 

    In heaven you are so close to God that He will hug you, just like I hug you.  It’s going to be wonderful. 

        I will be there, too.  I promises.  We will be there together, forever. 

        Remember that…just in case you ever wonder.

Goodbye 2009.  What awaits us in 2010?  It really doesn’t matter.  Eternal perspective.  Our epitaphs for each day will be written each evening…how will we use our days?  How will we use the time that blows so quickly by?  Will we meet people’s eyes?  Will we show kindness?  Grace?  Show others that we are in a different thought process than most….for our minds are focusing on the God who will give us the peace that passes understanding….and we don’t have to wait to arrive to feel his touch.  Camden asleep right now has the same hand that physically reached for his grandfather caressing his cheek.  The same hand is holding yours.  Life here is so short.  May 2010 be our sweetest year yet…regardless of what we experience….sweetest because of whose hand we hold…..Thank you for letting me come into your world on Thursdays and for your encouragement at the store.  If you only knew what difference you make for keeping me reading to write for you, and for keeping the store growing….so fun!  Go, take on your day & make your epitaph tonight worth writing!  Susan

Ps. 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Ps. 73:23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.

Latin for this week:
en la mano de Dios - In the hand of God.

Works Cited:
Lucado, Max.  Just In Case You Ever Wonder.  Nashville.  Thomas Nelson.  1992.
Van Buren, Maud; Bemis, Katherine, Editors.  Mother in Modern Story.  New York, NY.  The Century Co.  1928.