Amazingly - though my time is shorter with them this time of year, my absence from them leaves me worrying less about the condition of the house and more about the condition of their hearts. I worry less about doing dishes and more about playing house... or teaching word families... or playing Just Dance on the Wii. More silly. More fun. More quality time.
Had it not been the busy season, I may have missed a sweet, sweet bedtime with my sweet, sweet boy the other night. Sweet boy typically asks for Daddy to put him to bed, so my role in the nighttime process is normally a kiss, a squeeze and a reminder of how much I love him. Daddy happened to be gone this night, too, so it was all me.
I spent half an hour tucking in my son that night. We talked about his day. We talked about our plans for the next day. We talked about Kindergarten (which is rapidly approaching, to this mother's dismay).
We also talked about death.
It's been a heavy topic of choice by him lately.
He begins the conversation.
I can see his countenance change when he says it.
I can see the weight he carries.
My heart breaks. No. It crumbles and shatters into pieces much to small for repair.
The one experience I cannot deliver him from is the one experience he fears.
How many times must I bear his stating, "Mom, I don't want to die." This night, I'm certain there was tears in his eyes.
He's feeling it. He's recognizing the weightiness of our sin. He's understanding the permanence of the consequence.
So am I.
The conversation was lengthy on this particular night. I always remind him of the Gospel. I always remind him that death is not a moment to be feared, but for a Christian, death is passing from this life to a better life, a life with a Jesus that we can see and hear and maybe even touch.
What is this promise, though, to a little boy who wants another day to jump at 'the jumpin' place', or wants to get married some day, or wants to go to kindergarten? What is this promise to a little boy who is still lost? It's a heavy, heavy burden to bear. It's the inability to understand that Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer, and no matter how much I tell him that, until he knows Jesus, he cannot understand.
Again my heart crumbles.
"I don't want to be a kid and die," he says, and I can only promise that we'd do anything in the world to keep him safe. I remind him God is in control.
I wonder. I wonder where this fear has developed. I wonder why the focus on death, and I wonder if we -- the church -- are not part of the problem.
I look back over my own personal experience, and so much of the pre-Christian life is littered with reminders that Hell exists, that we will die, that Jesus is a solution to both problems. Somewhere, deep in our good intentions, we focus so much on Jesus in the dying, we forget that Jesus is just as necessary in our living.
Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful that my son is hearing the Gospel. I'm even thankful he's aware that he will die some day and that our sin has put us in that situation. I am just trying to make a more conscious effort to talk about the Jesus who is active and relevant in my life now, not just the Jesus that rescues us from the precipice of Hell and introduces Himself at the gates of Heaven. I'm making a point to remind my sweet five year old that my very breath is a precious gift from the God of the Universe. I'm reminding him that those fun things he so badly wants to be here to enjoy -- are enjoyable because God has given us that enjoyment.
When your five year old responds to your statement, "We don't have to worry about dying if we know Jesus, if we have Him in our hearts and make Him the boss of our lives," by stating, "I'm afraid to have Jesus in my heart. I don't want to die," you ache all over with the realization that we've made Jesus the means to a better end, but have left Him from most else.
The prayers that I had mentioned in a previous post regarding my petitioning and weeping at the gates of Heaven for my son's salvation have become that much more urgent. Now those prayers are tied to the cry that my son's fears would be erased, that Jesus would become his all in all... in life, and by default, in death, and, if I were honest, that God would protect him in a way I never could, that He'd shelter him and envelope him until that assurance becomes real in his life.
My strength is only so great.
My resources only so good.
I can't save the little boy alone, not physically, and certainly not spiritually.
And that is how I rely on a very real Jesus, at a very real time, in the land of the living. I am oh so thankful for him in my dying, but I know I need Him now in my living.
I know a little boy who needs this Jesus as well.
May he know Him. May he love Him. May his worries cease, his fears erase, and his joy increase.
Storming the gates on his behalf ---