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Monday, 11 April 2011

A Problem

It was always a problem
when I was a boy
that the dead we buried
would go to a  heaven
above the sky.

I asked around,
the vicar first:
the dead we bury -
they go to heaven?
They do indeed!

Why do we launch them, then
in quite the wrong
He promised me a year or two
would see me understand.

He was wrong, of course:
it never did.
Though it's not a problem
for me these days,
I think it is for some.

A stone in the churchyard
reads "Father and husband,
John lies here,
departed this life
and raised to Heaven... "


Jim Murdoch said...

My daughter asked me once why I believed in God. I imagine she was about eight by then. At the time I was going through the motions of believing in God and hoping this might lead to actual belief. Fortunately she asked me this question when I had available members of my local congregation and so I took her round a few of the devout and got her to ask them. Their responses were utterly disappointing, one and all. The worst was the girl who would end up marrying my brother who had a fit of embarrassed giggles and we got nothing more out of her. People usually ask these kinds of questions of priests and other ‘holy’ people but it’s far more enlightening to ask ordinary people. And disappointing. I think that was the moment for me the scales dropped from my eyes and I suddenly realised that I wasn’t the only person who was kidding himself.

Shadow said...

excellent question you had there at such a young age...

Dave King said...

I was brought up High Church, as it's sometimes called, but then went through a very evangelical period as a Methodist lay preacher, I was expected to "Preach your certainties, not your doubts". I'm afraid that for the most part I did the opposite, trying to convince myself, I suppose. For a while I went out with The London Embankment Mission. They ("Down-and-outs, for the most part) were given bowls of soup etc to make them a captive audience whilst we talked to them. Now, they were interesting to listen to! I don't think they would have disappointed you!

It came hot on the heels of "What holds the sky up?" I got the same answers: "Ask your teacher." and from her: "You'll understand that when you're older!"

CiCi said...

Good question. You were already able to use your brain as a kid ans think things through and want answers. I was like that too but the nuns were forever writing my name in the little black book the pulled out of the pocket hidden in the full skirt of their habits. What they told me was to be taken on faith made me even more curious.

Tabor said...

Dreading the day my grandchildren ask me these questions...because I do not believe in lying to children about important things.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

oh this is the great question!
It is nice to think that deads are in the sky and that they repose in peace and quiet, maybe we (alive) need to think that..

Corinna said...

They never seemed to have the answers for me either. Love this.

David Cranmer said...

... in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

flaubert said...

Dave, unanswered question, Dave, I believe, one we will never get an answer to.


Rachel Hoyt said...

What a great question for a child! I'm not sure mine was quite that inquisitive when I was little... or analytical.

Rose said...

A delightful read with a pinch of humour !:) Loved it!

Unknown said...

a very good question, keen observation and a wonderful poem

Carl said...

Great illustration that we all figure out (or not) the big questions for ourselves in a time and way we can understand. For me having an open mind and an open heart are the only answers I really need. Oh and a nice wooded path and stream to take pictures of ...

Sebab said...

I like what you said "though it's not a problem for me these days,I think it is for some".

Dave King said...

I can imagine! My vicar was a bit like that. R.C. in all but name, and questions not applicable. Doreen was taught by nuns for a while and had a similar experience to yourself. Our "Father" once refused to take a service of Remembrance because there were "Dissenters" present. (Methodists). I later joined them, much to his distress.

Difficult. I used to think there are levels of understanding. You can only be truthful up to there level, as it were. Doesn't make it any easier, though!

nouvelles couleurs
Mmm, maybe. I had a teacher once who was always telling us boys that if there had been no God, we would have had to make Him up and pretend to ourselves that there was one. A warm welcome to you.

The answers were so transitory for me. I couldn't hold on to them for any length of time.

I know, I know, but whose eye was it that was twinkling?

I do believe you are right in that!

I don't know that it was analytical. It didn't feel like that. I just supposed they were going up and we were sending them down!

Some questions need a mix of gravitas and humour, I find.

Good to have you visiting and also commenting. Thanks for your contribution.

Dave King said...

Absolutely, I'm with you all the way!

Thanks for that.