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When a 3-year-old talks about death

4.2. 2015 Written By: Jodi H. Beyeler 1,276 read
Maybe we shouldn’t have told my 3-year-old son life’s biggest secret already, but we did: “We are all going to die someday.”

Now he regularly talks about death and people dying. And he is so matter of fact about it; there is no fear or anxiety.

He asks if he and other people he knows are going to die soon, but I try to reassure him that though we don’t know when we are going to die, most people die when they are old. He doesn’t need reassuring though; I do.

This all can produce a bit of awkwardness when my son tells complete strangers that they are going to die.

As his mother, I feel the need to quickly apologize on his behalf. But why am I apologizing for an honest and innocent child who is naming truths from which the rest of us hide, ignore, turn away?

This week, we must face death head on: Jesus’ death.

Friday is indeed coming. It reminds us that we too will die one day. It invites us to sit with the question: “How do I want to die?”

Can we ask that question, like a child, without fear?

But we also don’t have to stop there. Because, “on the third day…” Scripture reminds us that death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:6-9).

With God, everything is upside down and inside out. The great mystery of death is that it always brings new life. And ultimately, the question it brings us back to is: “How do I want to live?”

I’m looking forward to Easter this year, to telling my son how Jesus died, but then how God raised him from the dead.

It will blow his mind, because it still has my head spinning in awe and wonder.

Jodi H. Beyeler is assistant director of communications and marketing at Goshen (Ind.) College. She is pictured with her son, Arthur. This originally ran as a Goshen College Lenten devotion on March 30. Click here for more devotions.

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