Happy Birthday Josh. I love you.
Josh wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to his grandparent’s cabin when his mom asked him to hop in the van on Friday evening.
“I can’t get service for my phone up there,” Josh said.
“You need a break from your phone,” his mother answered. “Put it in your pocket and let’s go. We’re barbequing hamburgers and slicing up a watermelon tonight.”
Guess if I want supper I better go, Josh thought.
As their van left the valley floor and climbed higher and higher up the canyon toward the cabin, Josh felt himself relaxing and breathing deeper. After dinner Josh’s aunts, uncles and cousins settled in for some games. Josh slipped outside and sat on the bench on the deck trying to get service for his phone so he could text his friends.
“There’s no service up here,” his grandma said sitting down next to Josh. But there’s a different kind of power up here.”
Josh smiled. Grandma was always full of words.
“Josh did you know there's power in every tree, flower, or blade of grass,” Grandma said. “We miss it if we don’t listen. Close your eyes.”
Josh put his phone in his pocket and closed his eyes. He heard the wind washing through the maples and pines surrounding the cabin the whir of the hummingbird’s wings as they fed.
“There is power in everything,” Grandma said.
“I just learned in science that almost every element was formed in the heart of a star from a cosmic explosion,” Josh answered. “Nothing really disappears; it just changes form. We’re all made of star dust.”
“Master creator at work,” Grandma said.
“When stars get to the end of their lives,” Josh said, “my teacher said they swell up and fall together again, throwing off their outer layers. If a star is heavy enough, it will explode in a supernova.So most of the material we're made of comes from dying stars. We have stuff in us as old as the universe, and stuff from only a few hundred years ago.”
“I’m getting close to the end of my life,” Grandma said. “I wonder what I’ll leave behind when I’m gone?”
“Me,” Josh answered.
“I remember the day you were born. Just yesterday you were a little boy and now you’re a young man.” Grandma said. “Life is so short. We have to learn all we can while we’re here.”
“Let’s make a fire,” Josh said.
Josh and his grandma stood, walked to the edge of the deck and down steps toward the fire pit. They carefully placed dried grass on the bottom of the pit and then placed a tee-pee of sticks and logs above it. Then Josh lit a match and the grass flashed with light that ignited the smaller and soon larger logs. Before long there was a warm blazing fire.
“When I die,” Grandma said, “I will throw off the layers of this earth and in a bright flame of light I will return to my heavenly home. But part of me will remain here in you. Josh, you are my place in the future after I am gone.”
Josh took a long stick and poked the dying embers in the fire.
“Yeah, like nothing really dies, only transforms,” Josh answered.
Grandma put her arm around Josh as wind washed through the trees bringing the warmth from the fire like a warm blanket all around them.
“I love you Josh,” Grandma said. “Because I’ve experienced how much I love you and your brothers and mom and dad, I have a small idea how much God loves us. When I was your age I always pictured God above me somewhere out there in outer space. But now I know that part of our Mother and Father in Heaven is inside us. In the same way you have my genes, we have our heavenly parent’s DNA.”
Josh and his grandma looked up at the night sky as a chorus of crickets sang in the grass behind them. Suddenly a shooting star streaked across the heavens leaving a trail of glory across the black sky.
“Looks like someone just went home,” Josh said.