That’s a fine looking hole you’re digging, son,” Daddy said. “What’s it going to be?”
“A grave,” Aaron answered.
Daddy’s brow wrinkled thoughtfully. “A grave? What for?”
“A bird. Katie found it. We’re about ready for the funeral. Want to come?”
“I think I might,” Daddy replied.
Just then Katie marched solemnly down the walk, bearing a shoe box in her arms. Andy, Jana, and Shauna followed, carrying peach blossoms and sweet peas.
“Want to see in the box, Daddy?” Katie asked, lifting the lid.
There on a fluff of blue silk lay a robin, red breast up and feet sticking in the air.
“Poor little fellow,” Daddy said.
“Mama said he’s probably quite happy,” Katie responded.
“By the way, where is Mama?” Daddy asked.
“Coming,” Mama called. She had stopped to pick a daffodil.
Gently Katie laid the box in the hole.
“Your robin is being buried by my lizard,” Andy remarked.
“His lizard had a silent funeral, because lizards don’t make any sound,” Jana explained to her parents.
“When we have funerals for creatures, we do the same as they do,” Aaron elaborated. “That’s why we don’t preach in bird funerals, because birds don’t preach. They just sing. So now we’ll sing.”
Katie waved her arms and everyone sang, “Up, up in the sky, where the little birds fly …” After the song, Aaron carefully shoveled dirt over the box, mounding it neatly, then everyone arranged their flowers on top.
“Have a nice sleep, little bird,” Katie said. Looking up at Mama and Daddy, she added “We’ve named this place Sleepy Hollow.”
“How lovely,” Mama said.
As the family sat around the supper table that evening, the children were thoughtful.
“Mama, why did you say Katie’s robin was probably happy?” Jana asked.
“I know,” Andy spoke up, “because it doesn’t have to eat worms anymore.”
“How do you know?” Aaron asked.
“Because robins will go to heaven and worms won’t.”
“Who said so?” Aaron persisted.
“Both Mama and Daddy,” answered Andy. “When Mama found a worm in her apple, she said, ‘Ugh, the filthy thing.’ And you remember when Daddy read to us that no filthy thing would go to heaven?”
“Inherit the kingdom of heaven,” Aaron corrected.
“Same thing. Worms won’t make it.”
“How do you know robins will?” Aaron asked.
“They will,” Katie piped up, “because robins are always cheerful. Even when it rains, they sing.”
“Daddy, will there be birds in heaven?” Aaron asked.
“I can’t quite imagine heaven without them,” Daddy answered.
“What about rabbits and squirrels?” Jana asked.
“I can only tell you what the scriptures say about it,” Daddy replied. “Usually, when we talk about the resurrection, we think of people. But the scriptures teach us that man, the earth, and all the life upon it will be resurrected, mentioning especially the beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea. The Savior gave His life so that everything would rise from the dead, even lizards and robins.”
“Where will everything go?” asked Aaron.
“There will be a place prepared for everything. The Bible tells us that John saw noble beasts in heaven.”
There was a thoughtful silence, then Andy spoke. “I know some noble beasts—our cow and Grandpa’s horse.”
“Woodpeckers are noble,” Katie added. “You should see the noble hole one pecked in Uncle Perry’s barn. The sparrows later built a nest in it.”
“Heavenly Father is mindful of all His creations,” Mama said. “And He knows exactly where they will go, for they are important to Him.”
“That’s what our Primary teacher said in the lesson about being kind to animals,” Jana put in.
“I like to think about having pets in heaven,” Andy remarked.
Leaning contentedly back in her chair, Katie sighed. “I’m thinking what heaven must really be like. I can imagine bluebirds and pink birds and yellow and green birds all singing and baby kittens purring and flowers blooming and lots of strawberries to eat. Heaven will have families who love each other just like we do. And we can thank Jesus for what He did for us.”
“You’re right, dear,” Mama said. “And when you kneel and pray to our Father in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ, you can thank Him now and every day.”