We were eating dinner when Abby asked "when is Mr. Johnny coming back?"
Mr. Johnny was our elderly neighbor who passed away a few weeks ago (read a funny post about him here). "Mr. Johnny is in heaven, Abby, we'll see him there when we go to heaven too."
"Dad..." Landis chimed in with a slightly puzzled look on his face. "Will I get to see Mr. Johnny?"
"Sure you will" I replied. "You're going to heaven right?" At this point my wife and I were all prepared for an answer that would make us smile from ear to ear... the result of years of devotionals, vacation Bible school, spiritual talks and Sunday's at church. Here's was our proud moment, a perfect inquiry to solicit the fruition of our consistent, effective, nurturing Christian parenting.
"No." No emotion, no expression. Just "no". No.
NO??? Back the truck up! No? What did Landis mean, "no"? Where had we gone wrong? What failure of Christian parenting had reared it's ugly head? Was SpideyLandis about to announce his impending atheism? Was he to join the annuls of the Prodigals? Our hearts sunk. Our minds darted about grasping for understanding, for reasons, for some shred of hope that our wayward son would return to the faith of his upbringing. As the old HeeHaw song laments (showing my age, huh?): "Gloom, despair and agony on me... aaaawwww....."
I gathered myself.
"Um, son, what do you mean 'NO'? You don't want to go to heaven? Why not?" My mind raced, lining up all the possible answers for his forthcoming rejection of God, the Bible, Christian, and all things faith.
"Cuz I'm not dead."
Well there you go. Duh.