My daughter wants to know about the cat.
Will it go to heaven when it dies?
My wife is content to tell her that it will, but I know it won’t.
That cat, according to the faith we practice, has a material soul.
Our heaven is a heaven for humans: not cats, cows, or cabbages.
How could we even begin to move, to live in any way,
if every bacteria we killed was equally made in God’s image?
But I don’t pretend to understand it all myself.
Heaven has always seemed to me less likely than hell.
It’s certainly harder to imagine what it is like to be there
and what might deliver you there in the first place.
In many ways, the cat is more deserving of heaven than I am.
The cat has never yelled at my wife over nothing,
never flew off the handle at my daughter for her trichotillomania.
It’s not easy to conceive of a place that invites none of the things we love.
It’s even harder to imagine a heaven where a beloved daughter misses her cat.
James Valvis, Washington, USA