J Walking

J Walking


My two-year-old daughter Livvy lives in a world without death. Nothing around her – save for the ants we regularly annihilate – has ever died. And even if something did die she wouldn’t understand it. Death is completely foreign to her life. Life is all she knows.

Her life is, I believe, how life was meant to be. We aren’t meant to be surrounded by death. It is entirely unnatural. We are born to life and oriented to life and know in our souls that we are designed to live – far beyond what we see or smell or understand. Death is the enemy, death is the stalker and even for those who wrap their lives in Jesus and know that death isn’t the end, it is still the enemy.

My hope is that I can keep Livvy in her world of life for as long as possible – it is the innocence that matters most.

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Steve Boese

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:33 am

Hey David… On one level I understand responding to death as unnatural and foreign, because I have survived a loved one’s suicide. On another level, to not accept death is, for me, to deny part of life. No living being owns the atoms or the molecules of which it is made; it employs them for a season and passes them on. The best that I can do is to live consciously precisely because each moment is a gift and the next is not guaranteed. The luckiest of us will get to approach death with some knowledge and forethought, and be supported in working through the process by our loved ones. While difficult, I believe the lives of my kids have been strengthened and enriched by that process. I hope it has helped to diffuse some of their fears, assuring them that this natural and organic step in life’s path can lead to peace. Take care…

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posted April 24, 2007 at 3:59 am

A good friend of mine belonged to a liberal Baptist church in Atlanta. One day he and his family went to a friend’s church in another city and when the Pastor said “Because Jesus died for our sins” my friend’s four year old looked up at her father with a horrified expression on her face and exclaimed “He died?!” You can see what Jesus saw in them.

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posted April 24, 2007 at 4:25 am

My son was just barely walking when we had one of our pet birds die. We took it outside and buried it in the garden. Without any prompting, my boy went and found a big rock and put it on the spot we’d buried the bird. He put it in place and patted it down, and stood back, satisfied. I remember being stunned that he knew to do this, as he’d had no prior experience with death. He was blessed with an intuitive accpetance and understanding of death. This served him well, as his father died when he was only 6 years old: having always known that death was permanent, natural, and nothing to be frightened of seemed to ease that transition. We never had to go through the questions of “when will he come back?” or “what do you mean, died?” because he just … knew. I think that it is possible for children to accept and embrace mortality without it being a terrible, horrible thing.We now live in the country and death is a part of the life we embrace: some of the lambs don’t make it, some of the chickens die, some are headed to the butcher and our table. It’s part of the circle of life. It’s a good thing to understand and embrace. What you want to protect your daughter from, I think, is the overwhelming grief and sorrow of loss. Perhaps that is a separate thing…?

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posted April 24, 2007 at 4:00 pm

And . . . . . . . . . . .. . . what did Jesus say about becoming as a little child? Another bit of provable fact from the New Testament, about human worth. Gosh, Jesus was so smart.

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posted April 24, 2007 at 7:32 pm

When my daughter was about 8 and undergoing cancer treatment for a relapse of a nasty cancer, it was about the time that many many children were dying of AIDS who had received blood transfusions for their hemophilia. Those kids were often in the same clinic with my daughter. They would play checkers or watch TV together as they received transfusions or chemo. One day – after a very long bad day for us, I decided to suggest something fun after the transfusions and thought we might go to a movie. I asked her where she would like to go and what she would like to see. She wanted to see “Philadelphia” the movie with Tom Hanks about a man dying of AIDS who was fired from his job. I had been thinking “Disney”. I argued with her and then she said, “Well, my friend died of AIDS and I want to see Philadelphia. We had spent most of the previous six months in hospital and there had been many scares and losses over that time. So, we went. And the whole time I am thinking , “I’m a baaaaddd mom. She knows nothing about all this. And she sat there with her little nutrition backpack and her little bald head and didn’t move through the whole movie. Afterward, I asked her, Honey, what did you think about the film. She answered, “Well, you know those guys who fired Tom Hanks? They were brains without hearts. And so was Denzel Washington until he found out how hard it was to be sick.” She took wisdom from that film from a much deeper place than I did. I was concerned about her exposure to something she could not understand. She was concerned that people didn’t understand that we are to be compassionate. It is a lesson I will never forget. I think the only lessons we are to learn are about compassion. Even the little ones can teach us that.

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T. Caster

posted April 26, 2007 at 4:32 am

Thinker, Is it wrong to consider who deserves to be sick and who does not? Does a drunk driver killed after leaving a bar carry the same compassion as an innocent bystander?What was the overall message of Philadelphia? Ignorance, innocence or culpability? There is a big difference between a disease one gets unfairly without cause and consequences one acquires knowingly. Many people when AIDS first hit were not aware that the disease had to be caught the way it was. It was thought of like the flu. I lived in LA in the early eighties. I was terrified to even meet someone with AIDS, let alone work side by side with them all day long. I realize your daughter at eight-years old, didn’t understand the entire situation of Philadelphia. Thank God. Compassion for an innocent person and comapssion for a foolish person. They start out on different plains. They only intersect at Tragic Ave. and Sadness Street, when all is said and done.The Christian message of Philadelphia would be to not engage in the behavior that ended up having such severe consequences and accountability for Hank’s true life character. Your daughter is innocent. Children really cannot understand everything the way adults can.

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posted April 26, 2007 at 4:51 am

My goodness, I guess I expect more of Christians than those who truly want people to get what is coming to them. I no longer know anyone – Christian, Jew, Muslim who thinks in those terms. But, apparently some still do. it saddens me no end.

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posted April 26, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Thinker, come on now.Remember the guy in hell in the parable Jesus preached on. The guy wanting to go warn his brothers?It appears that he got what was coming to him. His request was denied. If accountability for guilt and innocence are not divided, then what religion is it that you practice? It ceratinly is not the one mentioned in the New Testament. Also, what were you doing when the character in Philadelphia was actuall engaged in the behavior where he (eh-hem) “acquired” his disease?Hopefully you were protecting your daughter’s innocent eyes.WWJD? What is also getting harder to find, is Christians that are willing to see that innocence and culpability, accountability and consequences for sinful actions are two different things.They are. The Bible is one geat warning about engaging in behavior that can get you killed, from beginning to end. Accountability is a great theme in the Bible, and a great part of the preaching of Jesus. I can understand what is meant above, far easier than I can, why a parent would take a child (an eight year old) to see Philadelphia. Do you really think that was appropriate? We should be able to discuss these kinds of things rationally.

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