I Will See You in Heaven is a natural choice for a religious person who is grieving the loss of a pet. However, it’s also appropriate for anyone who seeks comfort that animals will meet us in the afterlife—or has debated someone who doesn’t believe they will.
With gentle words, the author assures those grieving the loss of pet, “These are not childish concerns, but the mature reflections of loving Christians.” He also makes a faith-based argument that eternal life in Heaven is not reserved only for people:
Certainly, God is not going to create—and then ignore—what he perceives as “very good” creatures!…Surely the creator would not suddenly stop loving and caring for the creatures he had put into existence with so much care.
The story of Noah’s ark, the author argues, is proof that God cares for the animals.
[The ark] story makes it apparent that God’s plan is not to save humankind apart from other creatures. We are all in the same boat!
Christians should thusly imitate Noah, who, tellingly, was selected as a righteous man in a doomed, sinful world.
To imitate the broad solicitude of our creator, a good human leader must care not only for other human beings, but also for the earth and the wider family of creation.
While this book certainly celebrates the bond between people and their pets, and describes concern for animals as a good thing, more thorny issues that are the reality for most animals are avoided. We read that St. Francis released a rabbit from a trap, and released a live fish a fisherman had gifted him as food. However, the author does not hazard a guess on the Christian response to factory farming and similar pressing issues.
Of course, these are not practices that many people are ready to confront, so I Will See You in Heaven is a useful book for opening up a dialogue about animal welfare in faith communities.
I purchased this book for my library.
(Review originally appeared at goodreads.com)