Monday, 31 October 2011

A Parable of Death

There was a young child who built herself a magnificent house out of Lego. She peopled the mansion with Lego figures, but it was her imagination which brought it to life. When the day ended, she stored the house carefully and went to bed.

Some days later, the house was showing its age. Bricks had been salvaged to aid in other creations, leaving plastic rubble in their wake, and the girl regretfully decided the house had had its day. She dismantled it carefully, placing the pieces back in her toybox for use later.

Her father, watching this, decided to use the moment to teach the young girl about death. He had no faith - he disdained such things - and had been uncomfortable with people telling his daughter that her late grandmother was 'in heaven'.

"That house is like Granny," he told the girl. "Before you made it it was just pieces in the box, and after you took it apart it was just pieces again. The house no longer exists - there is no 'house heaven' for it to go to. Do you understand?"

The little girl thought deeply about this, and finally said, "I love that house. I could build it from bricks again if I wanted, but isn't the image in my mind more perfect than the bricks? It was the model for the house, it was in my hands and my voice when I brought it to life, and it still lives in my memory now. That perfect image is even more beautiful because it lived in the bricks for a time, but it was not born with the brick house - and it did not die with it."

And her father patted her on the head, and called her a good girl, and did not listen.