You know how sometimes you get asked a question, and you thought you knew the answer? And then someone asks you that question, someone small, inquisitive, trusting because they look up to you….and your brain goes numb, like someone pulled the plug!
I got a small taste today of what it will be like to have kids someday. Today, one of my best pianists, a 5 year old girl named Rishika, looked up at me at the end of our lesson and asked me, “Miss Kelly, where’s heaven?”
It took me a moment to process what she had just asked me. Usually, end of the lesson questions go something like this: “Can I get TWO stickers?” or “Will you carry my books?” (this may sound like a question, but it isn’t).
But instead, I was faced with a question that bordered on the random ones I used to lay awake at night torturing myself with. “Where’s Heaven?” Is this a location question? I almost said, “I don’t know, maybe your parents have Google Maps or a GPS?”
But nothing so witty. My brain was unplugged, remember?
And then started our little conversation.
“Well, Rishika, Heaven is up there.” <points up to ceiling>. My goodness, how cliche AM I?
“You mean, it’s above the sky?”
“Yes, it’s above the sky.”
“So if I go up in a plane I’ll find it?”
“No Rishika, it’s invisible. You can’t see heaven unless you’re dead. Until you are, it’s invisible.”
This paused her. I thought perhaps I had said enough and was off the hook.
But it was only a temporary determent.
“But Miss Kelly, if I’m dead, my eyes will be closed. How will I see heaven if my eyes are closed?”
Uhoh. Good question. How to answer, how to answer?
And then, it came to me.
“Rishika, do you dream?”
“Are your eyes closed in your dreams?”
“Well, Rishika, the REAL You is in those dreams. When you die, your Real You will have eyes like the ones in your dreams and they will be able to see invisible things.”
“And I’ll be able to see heaven?”
“Yes, but only after you’re dead.”
And then, I decided to lighten the mood. After all, this was piano lessons!! Little kids should have parents telling them these things before they need to ask. Then again, perhaps parents don’t have enough time to answer them all.
Either way, I still wanted to lighten the mood.
“But Rishika, you don’t need to be worrying about these things right now!”
Surprisingly, she agreed with me.
“Yeah, I’m just a little girl. I’m not gonna die for a LONG time.”
And then, it was Riskika’s turn to try and lighten the mood.
“YOU’RE gonna die BEFORE ME!!!!”
Oh well. Maybe I’m glad that I’m waiting a few more years to have kids. I’ll save the tough questions and reminder of mortality for later, thank you.