I put my 11-year-old daughter to bed every night. After prayers, and after I turn off the light, she always begins a rapid-fire recap of the day's major events -- usually involving other girls in her class, her teachers, or what she did during recess.
But a few nights ago, we talked about heaven instead.
"Did you ever hear about a book called '90 Minutes in Heaven,'" she asked.
"What do you think heaven is like, Dad?"
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"I'm not sure. I think it could be like the best day you ever had, but it never ends."
"I think it is very crowded. All the good people go there and I don't know where there would be room." She yawned and turned on her side. I paused a moment to see if we were done. But her eyes were still open and she said, "Very crowded."
"You figure there are a lot of good people?"
She stared off in the distance, as if surveying all the people she knew, and calculating the totals. "Yep," she said finally. "Too crowded."
"Well, may be we're not bodies up in heaven, hon. Maybe we're spirits, just feelings and emotions and we are just there like that."
She thought about that for a minute, nodded silently. We seemed done now.
"Or animals," she said suddenly.
"Victoria says maybe we go to heaven and then come back as animals. McKenna is really fast and Vicki says maybe she used to be a cheetah."
"Maybe," I said. "That's called reincarnation. Some people believe you come back to live again --"
But I stopped. Her eyes were closed, her breathing slowed. Now, we were finished. We ended with the cheetah.