I was still pondering how to explain this to a seven-year-old when she answered herself (because TD in particular is fond of talking to herself). This is what she said:
"People go there for memories - to remember the people that died. When someone we know dies we're not sad for them. We're sad because we miss them, but we're happy for them because they're in heaven. And that's a good thing for them..."
She kept pondering this for a moment.
"Did you know that you can be two things at once? You can be both happy and sad at the same time."
Then Timid Daughter continued along that thought for a bit more. The idea of experiencing two opposing emotions at once was a new one for her and I think she enjoyed thinking it through.
I thought of her monologue today when I read L.L. Barkat's post, Of Bridges & Violins & Words.
And I thought of these verses yesterday as TD was speaking:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.1 Timothy 4:13-18
I hope those words encourage you today too.