I don’t know if there’s really a heaven. If I’ve ever visited there, I’ve certainly forgotten about it. But, every now and then, I get a sense of what I think Heaven would feel like to me.
As a dad, I know that Hell would be losing a child before I die. This is on my mind because I took my wife and boys to visit my grandpaPreviewrents today. Grandpa told us that three was the ideal number of children, because there would be two to replace and a third to replace one of the others in case one sibling died. Sometimes, old people can be blunt. He’s a World War II vet (time served in Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, Pilsen, and the liberation of a concentration camp) who raised a family on one income and is suffering from several physical maladies. I believe he’s earned the right to be a bit abrasive.
I will admit that I lose my composure when I hear about parents losing their children due to violence. I cried the day of the Newtown massacre, and I get sick to my stomach any time I hear about someone bringing a gun into a school building. Back in 2006, on my dad’s first week as principal of Green Bay East, he had to deal with a (thank God!) thwarted plot to attack the school. He is now a national expert on school safety and has even started his own LLC after retiring.
But, enough about the ugly stuff. As a dad, my intimation of heaven has come when my two boys began smiling at me. I’d like to do justice to the emotion their smiles bring out in me, but I’d fail if I tried. Suffice it to say that it fills me with a warmth I can’t remember feeling at any other time in my life.
So, if Heaven is for Real (good book, btw), then I imagine it would always feel like that first time each of my sons smiled at me.