In this household - the Fatty/Jelly household - there are differing views as to the existence or otherwise of heaven. It is a topic we generally leave alone; Fatty and I agree to differ. In fact, neither of us are entirely sure of our beliefs and thoughts on the matter, so it is easy to not only respect, but even understand, the other's point of view.
The arrival of children, who are now old enough to ask questions about God/heaven/hell and the like, has made things a little trickier. A little trickier, but not too tricky. We answer the questions by saying, "Well, Mummy believes that......., but Daddy believes that...........". We inform them, "Some religions believe .............., and some believe........". Our children seem to accept this. I sometimes think it could even be a good thing. Laura and Benjamin will never be told didactically, This is how it is. They will form their own opinions over time.
It amuses me to hear how these two children have then taken this mish-mash of parental instruction, and come up with some concepts of their own. Laura thinks heaven has invisible gates, and that people sit around on clouds. Ben thinks heaven involves dessert for every meal. Both kids are quite keen on the concept as a whole.
Last night, Laura, who tends to be more contemplative on the subject, commented, "I wish I would nearly die - then I could see heaven, but I'd still be alive." My throat felt tight for a moment. I wished fervently and silently that Laura's wish would remain unfilled for many years to come. Laura burbled on, adding, "You know - how some people who get very, very sick get to see heaven, then come back? I heard that it can happen". Fatty was answered that yes, there were people who believed they had seen heaven, who had almost died but then been revived. Laura nodded. "Yes, that's what I'd like to do". I resisted the urge to say, "No, no, no, NO you don't". Fatty and I met each others' gaze. The mood at the kitchen table was a tad sombre, to say the least.
Thankfully, our other child is less interested in the spiritual significance of heaven, and more interested in toilet humour. Just when I couldn't stand another minute of 'heaven talk', Benjamin came to my rescue, offering this thought on the matter:
"Laura, you have to do lots of farts to take off to heaven".
I'd just like to clarify that this is a belief held solely by my son.