Heaven, I hear, is a very beautiful place

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 5, 2010

This month marks a year since my daughter Cassidy was baptized at First Baptist Church in Covington.

Her grandparents and great-grandmother were there, and so were three of her best friends and their families.

She got a new dress for the occasion and a new pair of earrings. She spent time fixing her hair, wanting everything to be perfect.

And it was, for the most part.

Our pastor had explained everything. He had Cassidy relaxed and put her first in the line of several being baptized that day.

Mom here was standing off to the side with the camera ready to capture everything. I put it on video and started filming. Then, just as Dr. Waylon Bailey started to dip Cassidy into the water, I snapped the shutter. Don’t know why. I guess I thought I’d get a still picture of the moment.

Of course, I didn’t.

And now I have a great video, except there’s a hole in the tape where Cassidy was actually baptized. Thank goodness I ordered a DVD of the service, which includes the special moment.

I won’t forget that day. My daughter won’t either. Even at 9, she is well aware of what it means to be a Christian.

I’m very lucky. I have a great child. She’s bright and well behaved. She can be sassy and even a little whiny at times (can’t we all?), but still, she’s a great kid.

She goes to a Christian school, where she is receiving an awesome education and learning solid Christian values. She’s been there since she was 2, and I can honestly say I think she knows more about the Bible than many adults I know.

I think Cassidy was saved several years ago. She told us when she was 4 she had asked Jesus into her heart. And we truly think she knew what she was talking about. But we didn’t push anything. We waited.

Several months before her baptism she talked with me about it again, told me she had already asked Jesus into her heart, but said she didn’t think she was ready to “walk down the aisle” at church. Then, last February, the baby brother of a classmate died.

That changed everything.

Cassidy’s teacher started talking about Jesus a lot during class, even more than usual, trying to explain the tragedy and the comfort the family was receiving knowing their baby was with Jesus.

Several children made their professions of faith right there in the classroom. How cool is that?

The day before Cassidy’s baptism she and best friend Gabrielle were sitting in the back seat of my car discussing heaven.

“It is going to be so cool to go there,” Cassidy said. “I wonder if we’ll get to wear cool clothes and stuff.”

“Yea, and we’ll get to be with our friends all the time,” added Gabrielle. “I wonder if we’ll all get to live together in a big mansion.”

I laughed to myself listening to this innocent conversation, but couldn’t help wondering myself what heaven will be like.

I had already gotten a glimpse. A few Sundays prior to that Don Piper, author of “90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death,” spoke at our church. The Baptist minister (he’s an LSU graduate, by the way) told of the horrific accident he was in, how he was declared dead by paramedics and his body covered with a tarp, how another minister prayed and sang over him and how, 90 minutes later, he started singing along, alive again, still in the wreckage of his small red car.

He told briefly of his visit to heaven, how he reunited with family and friends, of the beautiful music that was playing and of the pearly gates and streets of gold. He told how he immediately knew where he was and how he experienced the pure joy of being there.

Of course, as he was speaking during an hour-long service time was of the essence, so his story was a shortened version of his book.

Cassidy heard him speak, too. We discussed it after church, and I asked her what she had learned.

“Heaven is absolutely the most beautiful place on Earth, Mom,” she answered.

Then she realized what she’d said and corrected herself.

“I know it’s not on Earth. It’s heaven. But it’s the most beautiful place anywhere.”

Sandy Cunningham is publisher of L’Observateur. She can be reached at sandy.cunningham@ wickcommunications.com.