Meeting Pop. On a sun-drenched day in August, four-year-old Colton hopped into the passenger seat of my red pickup, and the two of us headed off for a drive. Acres of farmland fanned out around us, cornstalks six feet high bright green against the sky, and the asphalt cutting through it like a blade. Suddenly Colton spoke up. “Dad, you had a grandpa named Pop, didn’t you?” “Yep, sure did,” I said. “Was he your mommy’s daddy or your daddy’s daddy?” “Pop was my mom’s dad. He passed away when I was not much older than you.” Colton smiled. “He’s really nice.” I almost drove off the road into the corn. It’s a crazy moment when your son uses the present tense to refer to someone who died a quarter century before he was even born. But I tried to stay cool. “So you saw Pop?” I said. “Yeah, I got to stay with him in heaven. You were really close to him, huh, Dad?” “Yes, I was,” was all I could manage. My head spun. Colton had just introduced a whole new topic: people you’ve lost, and meeting them in heaven. Crazily enough, with all the talk of Jesus and angels and horses, I had never even thought to ask him if he’d met anyone I might know.
But then, why would I? We hadn’t lost any family or friends since Colton was born, so who would there have been for him to meet?