I walked alone among the many lunchtime travelers, passing small storefronts and restaurants that defined a backstreet in West Philly. Inviting aromas from a Greek restaurant wafted out their open door. The bright sun was out again after a rainy Philadelphia morning. A request had gone out to help with Alex, the son of a coworker, and I was headed to Children’s Hospital to give blood. My mind was on Alex. I prayed for his healing as I walked. Alex was dying of Wilms Tumor and had needed many blood transfusions. He was four. Alex ultimately did not survive his battle with cancer. I have a lasting memory of that lunchtime walk. Including the memory of a shimmering, bright reflection in a puddle left by the morning rain. The puddle clearly reflected the blues and whites of the sky above. As I moved along, a thought came to my mind, “Even the puddles reflect the sky.”
Joe is 84. I always ask, “How are you doing, Joe?”. His unfailing response, “I’m on the top side of the grass!” Once though, he added, “The number of my days was determined in eternity past, and I will live no more and no less.”
So why did Alex have so few days and Joe so many? Jesus, referring to children, once said, “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” There must be lots of kids in Heaven.
We don’t understand the reasons for our number of days – why one has so many, and why another has so few. But do we have to understand in order to have faith? Or even to have peace? Faith that, in spite of the intense pain of loss, still looks up, or at least while looking down, sees a reflection of the sky in the puddles?
Jesus Christ provided a way whereby we can look forward to a time of reunions, when there will be no more pain, or tears of mourning, and no more death. That’s the long view – for Alex, for Joe, and for us.