Heaven is for Real is a true story about a boy named Colton Burpo, who at 4 years old, had a near death experience. Well, you could technically say he did die for 3 minutes. Colton was brought to the hospital after complaining of stomach pains and constant vomiting. The first visit to the hospital diagnosed it as stomach flu. It turned out though that Colton's appendix had burst and had an abscess. He was in really bad shape because he had this in his system for 5 days! After surgery, they thought they were in the clear but as Colton and his parents stepped into the elevator, the doctor had stopped them because the blood work revealed that there were 2 more abscesses. With the condition Colton was in there was little hope that he would survive. His parents, Todd, a pastor, and Sonja, had asked for prayers from their congregation. The next day, it seemed like a miracle had happened. Colton was sitting up, playing like a normal 4 year old. Doctors and nurses could not believe it. To the Burpo's, it seemed like their prayers were answered.
A few months later, on a drive to South Dakota to visit family, Todd had pointed out that if he turned left, the road would bring them to the hospital Colton was in. Sonja asked "Do you remember when you were in the hospital Colton?" To which Colton replied, "Yes, Mommy, I remember. That's where the angels sang to me." The reaction of Todd and Sonja was the same as mine when I read that, I stopped and said "WHAT?" Throughout the months and years ahead, Colton had revealed more information about what happened during his time in the operating room. It turned out that he visited Heaven. He said that while sitting on Jesus's lap, he saw his dad in a room all by himself screaming at God. Mind you, no one in the hospital knew where Todd was during this time. Sonja was sitting in another area crying and calling people. He told Todd, "Daddy, remember when I yelled for you in the hospital when I waked up?" Todd said, "Of course I do". Colton then goes to tell him, " The reason I was yelling was that Jesus came to get me. He said I had to go back because he was answering your prayer. That's how come I was yelling for you. " Well, needless to say at this point of the book, I had goosebumps!
Colton then when on to describe what Heaven looks like (a rainbow, because it has lots of colors) and the people he met. He met Jesus, God, Gabrielle, and Pop, his dad's grandfather whom he never met, even a sister he never knew he had. His parents had suffered a miscarriage before they became pregnant with Colton. According to his parents, they never told anyone about this, not even family and friends, because it hurt too much to talk about it. He says that there are animals too. On this day, the day of our dog, Oreo, birthday, this made me happy to know that he is in Heaven as well.
For a Catholic girl, while reading this book, I asked myself, is this true? Could it be? How do I know if they are telling the truth? But then again, if this isn't the truth, then may God bless them. I can't imagine someone using their son and lies just to make people believe in Heaven, in Jesus. No matter what others think, to me though, this made me a believer even more. I choose to believe. It's better to believe than not at all and find out it really was true right? The description of Heaven was so beautiful. Colton described Jesus as "big, strong, and had the most prettiest eyes ever!" Every time they saw a picture of Jesus, they would ask Colton if this is how Jesus looks like. Each time the answer was no. One day, Todd saw a painting that an 8 year old girl, Akiane Kramarik, painted. She has had visions which she had translated to paintings and poetry. This is the painting:
Colton stopped and didn't say anything for a while. Then he turned to his dad and said, "That's him Dad." You know what, Jesus does have the prettiest eyes ever.
The one thing that hit me the most when I read this book is the part when Colton met his sister in Heaven. Sonja was 2 months pregnant when she miscarried so they never learned the gender of the baby. Colton described her as a girl who looked like his older sister, Cassie, but with darker hair. He asked his sister in Heaven what her name was and she said she didn't have one. She also said that she could not wait to meet her parents one day. This hit me really hard. I cried so much during this part of the book. To think that a baby you lost is up there in Heaven waiting for you. I am tearing up right now while writing this. It gives me hope. I hope it gives those who has miscarried as well some hope and relief in knowing that when you die, your little one, the one you never met, is up there waiting for you. If nothing else I have written in this blog has made you have faith that Heaven existed, I hope that this has turned you into a believer.
To the Burpo's, I want to say: Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for making me a bigger believer, for giving me hope. Hope that I may one day be in a beautiful, colorful place called Heaven. Hope that one day, I will be able to see the loved ones that I have lost, our dog, Oreo, and above all else, the baby that we lost.