In The Eyes of the Heart, Fred Buechner’s elderly mother asked him whether he believed anything happened after death. I think Fred’s mother asked out of the deep-down-ness of what it means to be human and in her case facing one’s end in this world. She asked it for me, as well. And Fred’s answer was one he wrote down in a letter to his mother later that day. His letter was to me, as well. For you, too.
“I wrote her I believe that what happens when you die is that, in ways I knew no more about than she did, you are given back your life again, and I said there were three reasons why I believed it. First, I wrote her, I believed it because, if I were God and loved the people I created and wanted them to become at last the best they had it in them to be, I couldn’t imagine consigning them to oblivion when their time came with the job under the best of circumstances only a fraction done. Second, I said, I believed it, apart from any religious considerations, because I had a hunch it was true. I intuited it…It feels as though, at the innermost heart of it, there is Holiness…we belong to Holiness…And lastly, I wrote her, I believe that what happens to us after we die is that we aren’t dead forever because Jesus said so…In one way Jesus was a human being like the rest of us…But when he said to the Good Thief on the cross next to him, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” I wrote her, I would bet my bottom dollar that he of all people knew what he was talking about, because if in one way he was a human being, in another way he was immeasurably more.”
From “Deep Calls Unto Deep: Reflections on the intersecting lives and writings of Fred Buechner, Tony Abbott, and Louis Patrick”