I HAD NO IDEA

This week I have been reading the book Heaven Is For Real.  I’m reading it because the Burpo family (who the story is about) is going to visit our church in a few weeks. 

For a couple years now, friends have suggested I read Heaven Is For Real, but I have resisted.  I’ve said things like, “No thanks.  I don’t want to cry” or “I don’t want to read something that will make me sad especially if it is about a child who goes to heaven”–even if the child comes back to earth I feared that might be more than I could handle.

But now the Burpos are coming to town.  So I read it.  And it was eye-opening.

Most noteworthy for me is the multiple rainbows that Colton Burpo saw in heaven and the book’s reference to Revelation 21:19-20 where the rainbow colors of heaven are described.

Rainbows in heaven?  –How did I miss that all these years?!  I’ve heard about gold and pearly gates (the very next verse!  Revelation 21:21), but I missed the rainbows.  And how did I write and publish a book referencing a rainbow bed in heaven 3-4 years ago without knowing this Bible fact? 

I certainly knew about a rainbow in the Noah’s Ark story, but I did not know about rainbows in heaven.  –I probably should note here that another book I’ve been avoiding is the book of Revelation!  I need to get over that avoidance issue too, but ever since I saw the movie A Thief In the Night at way too early of an age (parents, don’t scare your children!) I have not felt the need to read the last chapter of the Bible.  We all have issues of some kind, amen?  Now you know a couple of mine.

In 2008 our kindergartener told us not to worry because his mamaw/my mom who passed away is sleeping on a rainbow bed.  I found his words to be very comforting in our time of grief.

So comforting that I wrote a book about it.  His perspective was sweet.  Kind.  Helpful.

And now?!  Now I’m still comforted, but I’m wondering what did our 5 year old son see back then?  What was happening in his line of sight?  I’m beginning to understand that the eyes of a child see more than we grown ups can imagine. 

Let’s listen carefully to those young minds who are open to the world and perhaps open to the blessings of heaven too.

Peace,

Glenna

Books:  Heaven Is For Real, Rainbow Bed:  a child’s perspective on coping with grief

PRECIOUS VIDEOS

I’ve learned not to be surprised by irony in life.  In fact, I welcome it.  How about you?  If I’m aware enough to notice when it happens, then I raise an eyebrow to God and ask, “Is this ironic thing something you are using to get my attention?”

As long as I can remember, I’ve been a writer.  Harriet the Spy was one of my childhood heroes because she walks around writing in a notebook.  As a child I walked around with notebooks too–and I still do today!  The desire to write and publish books has grown in my soul since I learned to read and write.

The first book I had the courage to complete was about caregiving and grief.  After years of wanting to complete and publish any of my writing ideas, it was grief that fueled my fire to finally finish a writing project.  Rainbow Bed:  a child’s perspective on coping with grief (2009) was a labor of love inspired by how one of our children dealt with the caregiving and death of my mother. 

That was a dark and painful time for our whole family.  Not only did we lose my mom, but we also lost my sister-in-law just 5 weeks later.  Sadness swallowed us whole it seemed.  Since that time, most of our darkness has lifted.  We all have needed time to adjust to our “new normal”.  Rainbow Bed:  a child’s perspective on coping with grief is one of the projects that helped me through the hurdles of grieving.

Flash forward to 2012.  I have been meaning to download and organize family videos.  Anyone else overwhelmed by how to do that?  I keep hoping that the video recorder will hold up until I figure out a good system.  Meanwhile, I’ve been taking videos of school events and holidays year after year.

Often while recording school events I have a nagging feeling that I might not be the only parent in the room who would want copies of my videos someday.  I brush off those thoughts, but keep the camera rolling.  Who would want my footage?  And how often will even I look at these videos when my own kids are grown?!  Most of my zoom is focused on my children, but I take the time to scan the crowd of kids involved–just in case.

This summer one of Ben’s classmates died as a result of a horrible car accident; Grace, 10 years old, a precious, kind, amazing sweet girl.  I have given her mom space, but also sent encouraging notes occasionally–mostly to simply say “you’re in my thoughts and prayers”–because c’mon, what words could I possibly say to this dear mother who has suffered so much?  Encouragement is a fine line when tragedy happens.  Choose words carefully, I tell myself.  Let people know you care, but be wise and pray about what words to say and what words not to say.

But I’ve been thinking about those videos more and more wondering if Grace’s mom would like copies of events K through 4th grade.  Of course, that would mean I’d have to start organizing those videos I’ve been avoiding! 

I can’t imagine the pain their family has endured.  I didn’t bring up the videos to Grace’s mom, but then the door opened.  I received a text from her saying that they have one video of Grace, a clip taken by her younger brother.  That was one of those ironic moments.  I barely whispered to God, “Guess you want me to mention those videos, huh?”

So I did.  And she wants them.  Today, another parallel day with grief, I finally worked on organizing my videos, downloading precious moments in-between time working on this new blog.  I’ve cried while watching Grace and Ben run around in their kindergarten gym class, sobbed in contrast to their class singing happy songs like America the Beautiful and Fifty Nifty.  And, seriously, Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA sung by third graders was never fair from the first time.  I cried at the original performance.

In a few moments I will drop off 5 DVDs to Grace’s mom, a woman who found the courage to raise her hand in praise during her own daughter’s funeral when no one in the rest of the room could.  Could I do that?  I pray I never know.   

I wonder if children in our community receive a little more patience and love from their parents who know about Grace’s story.  I know that is the case in my home.  The opportunity to hug my children is extremely valuable. 

I’m glad today was a day to finally tackle projects like precious videos and creating a blog.

Blessings to you and your family,

Glenna

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