Monday, March 19, 2007

Carnations for a friend

A little over a year ago, my family lost a friend.

He was the kind of friend you tell stories about, smiling and laughing as one gentle anecdote tumbles into another. He was the kind of friend you watch, and learn from even when he isn't trying to teach you anything. He was the kind of person who challenges you, even telling you things you don't want to hear so that you can be a better friend to others.

It was a sudden thing when he passed, and every friend he had found a different way to mourn. Some are still mourning today. You never know whose thoughts are where, though. My eight-year-old daughter, out of her own sweet spirit, asked if she could place some flowers on his grave; quietly, I agreed, and today the beautiful floral arrangement on our friend's grave has, slipped into one side of the vase, the addition of three yellow carnations.

As we walked away from the gravesite, my daughter matter-of-factly said she looked forward to seeing him again, and that she knew our friend was happy in Heaven. If it's possible, though, this afternoon he was just a little bit happier.

--Mike

5 comments:

Derrick Calcote said...

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

arminius said...

Greetings, brothers in Christ.

I remember when I was your daughter's age, Mike. I never experienced the death of a relative or friend, but my family always had cats, dogs, and other critters who passed away with unhappy regularity. I always looked forward to seeing them again in heaven.

Then, when I grew up and started going to 'big church' I learned what silliness it was to believe that animals went to heaven when they died.

Not too long ago I listened to a sermon by Chuck Swindoll, and he pointed out that since the Bible mentions animals in heaven, why should we think they wouldn't be our own pets who we loved on earth? That sermon brought back such memories.

I can't make a scriptural argument that our four-legged friends will join us in eternity, but I can pray that I won't do anything to hinder the wonderful, innocent faith of our children, and also that some of that simple faith will remain in me.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Finance Guy said...

Mike, my time with my daughter and her pure spirit that spontaneously manifests itself in conversation has softened my heart in a way I never even imagined. Thank God for little girls. You have some sweet kids.

Support Brother Cakes said...

This is a beautiful passage, Mike.

Mike Bratton said...

Much obliged, folks. My wife and I have been blessed with two wonderful children.

--Mike