Tripping Over the Trinity

Loving on Cadence and Making Pancakes. Las Vegas. July, 2011.
Talking Theology with Cadence
It is Friday morning, near the end of our week-long, three-generation family vacation.  My husband and I occupy a suite adjoining the one shared by my daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons. 
Our lodging strategy has worked well. We’ve spent days together as a family of six, visiting amusement parks and swimming pools, sharing sandwiches and memories. Some evenings Rich and I have headed out for an evening for two; other nights, Elaine and Rob have crept out after putting the boys to bed. With both doors open, Rich and I can watch over our sleeping grandbabies from the comfort of our own room.
On this morning, four-year-old Cadence has wandered over to spend the early morning with me. Everyone else still sleeps.
I am at the computer, sipping coffee and savoring the gift of this shining morning, of these precious days together. I tell Cadence that we can’t turn the television on because Papa Rich is sleeping. Snuggling into a chair beside me at the table, he sucks down a tube of Go-Gurt as I transfer funds online.
“Lala,” he says.
“Look. I am sawing off your hand.”  Gently, he draws the flattened plastic yogurt tube across my wrist.
“I will cut it off and then you’ll die.”

Puzzled by his cheery tone, I turn to look at him. He grins.
“Well, if a doctor helped me, I wouldn’t die.”

His mind is on another path, so he ignores my attempt to steer our course in this conversation.

“And then…’ll go to HEAVEN!!” His face glows as he makes the announcement.
“Yes, when I die, I’ll go to heaven. You will too, so long as you love Jesus.”
“Oh, Lala, I DO love Jesus!” He throws his little arms around my neck and I hold him tight, tight against my swelling heart.
I hold my breath to see where we’re heading.
“Jesus knows everyone’s name,” Cadence tells me.
“Yes, He does.”

“Even strangers?”

“Yes, even strangers.”

“How does He know the strangers’ names?”

“He knows everyone’s name because He made them—God made them.”
Cadence blinks twice, blue eyes wide. I see that my reference to the Trinity has taken him onto an unknown stretch of the Gospel path.  I’m not surprised—the Three in One is hard for me to grasp.
Cadence asks for apple juice, which tells me he’s heard enough for this morning.  I pour him a boy-sized serving in a man-sized plastic tumbler, the only suitable cup in our timeshare kitchen.
I return to my online banking and discover that the resort’s mediocre WiFi connection has timed out during our chat.
Suddenly I’m blinking, remembering his trusting arms squeezing me hard as he proclaims his love for Jesus.
He sets down his juice and I sweep him into my arms once again, wanting only to hold on to him, to absorb his innocence and trust, to hold on to this moment.
The banking can wait. My grandson and I are busy imagining heaven together.
 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:1-4 (NASB)

There and Back Again

I’m going There and Back Again with Charity Singleton over at Wide Open Spaces. Thanks to my friend Jennifer Lee over at Getting Down With Jesus for inspiring me with her post, “Through a Glass, Darkly.” If you’d like to go There and Back Again, too, click here for Charity’s instructions.


  1. Cadence’s innocence is just so inspiring and so adorable! I wish I could hug him, too. 🙂

  2. So sweet to share this precious moment with your grandson. Loving Jesus is the first step to then asking him into our heart. We all must come as little children open to know that God loves us and he certainly knows our name.

  3. It is heartwarming to hear this young child voicing his convictions about heaven and sharing with you his love and wisdom. We all need to be like little children and come to the Lord and enjoy His presence.

  4. Sounds like a lovely way to enjoy a family vacation. How precious, when little ones know, in such a matter-of-fact way, deep truths of scripture. “And then you’ll go to heaven!” Oh, that each of us could believe so simply, so strongly!

  5. Nancy, he does make it simple, doesn’t he? I wonder if that is what Jesus was getting at when He told us to come as little children, as Kathy and Hazel point out.

    I think He knew we’d overthink it, complicate things, and perform other stupid human tricks.

  6. Sheila, thanks for sharing. Some of the greatest clarity on God comes from the mouths of babes. I can’t even tell you how many times my almost five year old has reminded me how great and how loving Jesus is, in such simple terms that they are beautiful. We are blessed to have children in our life to truly show us what childlike faith looks like.

  7. Sheila – This is so sweet and yet so real. Cadence knows far more than most of us about living with the hope of heaven.

    Thanks for linking up with There and Back Again. I’m off to see Jennifer’s post. I don’t remember reading that one.

  8. Charity,
    Thank you–both for your kind words and for hosting There and Back Again.

    I bet you’ll remember Jennifer’s post the instant you see it. It was a doozy.

  9. Sheila,

    This is a beautiful moment, well-told in your hands. Thank you for letting us have a peek.

    I keep thinking about how no one is a stranger to Jesus. He knows our names, bears them on the palm of His hands.

    Thank you for the link and for your kind words. I have loved getting to know you through this online journey of words and The Word.

  10. Jennifer,
    It’s been my privilege to get to know you through our shared journey.

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, how our wee ones get right to the heart of the matter? “He knows all the strangers’ names.” Funny, that one. Because when his mommy was three, she said to me one day,

    “There are people who don’t love me, but they don’t know my name yet.”

    This is the same little boy whose Palm Sunday question was, “Why did Jesus have to die?”

    He’s thinking, my Cadence is.

    I’m not sure this conversation would have settled in my heart the way it did had I not just read your brilliant post about your daughters talking with you about heaven.

    Thank you, thank you, for peeling away a few scales.