Baboon Heaven


Sunset by Pamela S. Wight

“But is there a heaven?” he asked in all seriousness.

“Well,” I replied, “I think, um, I think that depends on how you define ‘heaven.’”

Son Sean, 12 at the time, looked at me blankly. “Whatd’ya mean?” he asked earnestly.

I felt my heart squeeze, like a little fairy had gone inside my chest and pinched the throbbing red muscles just to tease me. Whenever my son looked at me with his innocent boy’s face, trying so hard to understand the life he had been brought into, my heart was tweaked by this little pixie.

“I mean,” I said, clearing my throat, “that heaven, the word heaven, means different things to different people. It kind of depends on what they believe in. What their religion is. Who, or what, their God is, and what God and heaven signifies to them.”

Sean’s expression turned to disappointment –  in me and my convoluted explanation.

“Well, you know that there has to be a baboon heaven,” he exclaimed matter-of-factly.



(Yoskke, Apr 2014)

“A baboon heaven. How do you explain a baboon heaven?” Sean’s voice noted exasperation.

“What is a baboon heaven, Sean?” I asked quietly, gently. As he grew frustrated, I wanted to keep the conversation calm.

Sean explained: “If there’s a heaven for people, then there has to be a heaven for baboons, since we’re evolved from baboons.” As proud as he was with his pronouncement, I could also tell that he wanted me to either trip up on this theory, or agree with him that there was no heaven for anyone, baboon or human being. Or, he wanted me to tell him, for sure, that heaven only existed for good people.

“Of course there are baboons in heaven, Sean, just as there are dogs, and cats, and any being that has a soul or a spirit. You told me you don’t believe that Tory is ‘just’ a dog, that she’s a special being. Do you think that she’ll go to heaven when she dies?”

There, I’d turned the question around to him.

Silence ensued. The pause ticked into a minute, and we heard the click of the toaster oven downstairs, informing us that the morning bagels were probably overdone. We needed to leave for school in five minutes.

“Do you?” he retorted, finally.

“Yes, I do. But I think of heaven as not something ‘up there’ or ‘in the sky,’ but rather a place that’s all around us.”

Sean looked around the wallpapered bedroom.  The 7 a.m.  rainbowed-sun shone through the large picture window, reflecting the glimmer of the Bay water below us.

“Hmph,” he replied as he walked out the door and down the stairs to breakfast.

S.F. Bay Rainbow by Pamela S. Wight

“Do you believe there’s a heaven, Sean?” I called out to him.

“I know I don’t want to die to find out,” he yelled back over his 12-year-old shoulders.

24 thoughts on “Baboon Heaven

  1. Perfectly timed in line with my own sentiments and beliefs. All around us is right, and better to dream about it than to have to “find out”. Loved this, and the rainbow.


  2. Oh my gosh, this is a zinger, Pamela. Christ himself instructed “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” Matthew 18. Thank you for sharing your son’s deep child-like wisdom.


  3. I’d have got a slap plus extra RI lessons at school if I’d openly questioned such an article of faith at that age 🙂 Thank goodness children are shown how to think for themselves these days.


  4. Sometimes we don’t always have to give a long explanation to 12 year olds. They are looking for a simple answer. It’s us “adults” that think we have to explain the theory of relativity! LOL! I think he was quite wise as his young self. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when HE gets those same questions! 🙂


  5. You did good, Mom! Although, I don’t think he was satisfied by not getting the answer out of you that he wanted to hear.


  6. Oh, this is so precious. They certainly know how to ask the big questions out of the blue, and they’re so deceptively simple sounding…but, as you so wonderfully showed, the answers are quite tricky…sweet, funny and profound, loved it – thanks for sharing Pam. Blessings, H xxx


  7. This brings back memories of me asking my parents and grandparents similar questions – and they all had different answers! But my grandfather explained that the most important questions have no certain answers and that we all need to work it out for ourselves. I hope I will be able to convey that thought as eloquently to my granddaughters in the future, when they are ready…


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