I tucked my son into bed last night, as I usually do. But as I returned to my room, I felt that there was something heavy on his heart that he may want to talk about, so I returned to spend a bit more time with him. I’ve learnt that there are times when it’s those quiet moments before sleeping that children do spend time thinking about ‘big questions’ and some of our most meaningful heart-to-heart talks happen at that time (though it at first seems like a mighty inconvenience to parents).
So I lay down next to him, wondering how to get him to share with me.
“I was thinking… if you and mummy die, we’d have no one…”, he said.
Unlike Barney, I didn’t have a happy, chirpy, positive response for him. I just hugged him and we both let our tears find their way down our cheeks.
It is true, isn’t it? If my wife and I die, who would be there for them? Maybe they’ll be sent to welfare services to be fostered into other homes. I don’t have the confidence that the assembly or assembly members would ‘adopt’ guardianship over my children. Who would want them, all four of them? What would happen? Would they be separated? Would they be abused? Would they be able to cycle and play together? Would they be able to sing and play together anymore? Would they be abandoned? Will there be any more joy? Their lives will never be the same again. What would happen?
There seemed to be a little disappointment in him that I didn’t have a near immediate answer. This one required a lot of sensitivity… without sacrificing reality.
I finally answered, “Son, you’re right. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We can’t be sure of where we will be. But that doesn’t mean we have to be afraid. We believe in the Lord Jesus, and He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. What ever happens, good or bad, we believe and trust that He is preparing us for it. He is able to, He has, and will, take care of us. The bible also says, ‘Cast your worries upon Him, for He cares for you’, so yes, I’m as worried as you are, but lets tell it to God coz He cares for us. And if you believe in Jesus, and I believe in Jesus as our Saviour, if we are separated by death, we’ll meet again and never be separated again.”
Wasn’t the best reply, but it was the best I could muster. Good enough to get a kiss from my son. We prayed and cast this issue before Him, coz He cares.
As we hugged each other to sleep a different thought went through my mind, one that is the actual point of this narrative – as a parent, if I knew that today was the last day with my child, what would I do differently? Would I nag or scold as much? Would I shoo them away for asking me, “what is Monday?” Would I be as annoyed by how slow they eat? Would I kiss, hug and play with them more? Would I be more patient? Would I take the time to go for a walk with them?
What if today was my last day as a parent?
P/S: As I drifted to sleep, the Lord laid this verse on my heart, and it gave me some confidence.
Philippians 1:21-25. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.