The other night, as I was lying in my bed reading a Christian book that I had downloaded to my tablet, I came across a chapter that brought out a strong and sudden response.
The book was non-fiction, but this chapter was about a vision which the author claimed to have experienced… as if it were real. It might have been real. I do believe that some people do experience visions – and if I hadn’t believed it was real, perhaps it wouldn’t have upset me as it did.
In the vision, the author was speaking with Jesus, and said, “some people have strange opinions on Christianity,” or something on the lines of that, “some believe they will see their dogs in heaven.”
I cried so long, and so hard, that when I woke in the morning my eyes were still heavily swollen. In one sentence, the author had re-awoken a trauma that, while it hadn’t healed, was at least not as… loud anymore. It was as if my dog had been taken from me all over again, and it hurt just as much as on the day when I unexpectedly lost him.
“I need him, Lord,” I cried. “I need all of them.” If my animals aren’t in heaven… how could it be heaven then?
This is difficult to explain to people who don’t understand. And I know that this is something that Christians disagree on. But…
You see (and I know God knows this about me, for He put them on my heart, and He gave them to me to love) I really struggle to form connections with people. No matter how hard I try, and no matter how much I like them, I just… I am always afraid, always uncomfortable, always ashamed of who I am when I am with people.
I try to be myself, and I try to be known, and I really do try to connect – but at the end of the day, it is my ‘babies’ that I feel closest to – and they aren’t people.
All of my life, it was them. It was the animals that carried me through. It was my animals that kept me going. Even as I cried over this sentence in the book I was reading, my cat verbally questioned what was wrong (not in English, of course, but I understood him) and my girls came to lick the tears off of my face.
My husband walked by, but it was my ‘babies’ that came straight to me to ensure I was okay. I wasn’t.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love ” 1 Corinthians 13:13. God gave me my babies to love. All through my life, they have been there to love – and I have. I really, truly have. So if love remains, why wouldn’t they? I cried myself to sleep that night praying, “Please, Lord, I need them.”
The next morning I woke with this verse on my mind: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20. This verse has been used as a comfort for here, but also in heaven – and for heaven to be “abundantly more than I could ask or imagine,” my babies would have to be there.
They would have to be… wouldn’t they? The thought that they might not be there has me crying still – two days later – and has re-opened wounds that the presence of those still with me have worked to heal. “I need them, Lord. Please.”