What Comes After the Clouds?

When I was a little boy I asked a lot of questions.

I don’t remember asking a lot of questions, but apparently I did because my parents told me I asked too many questions! One time they bought me a book that was titled, 101 Answers to Questions Children Ask or something like that.

Two things I remember that really baffled me as a child were the names of geographical locations and the biggest number.

I couldn’t understand a town being located in a state being located in a country. And, it really puzzled me if a city and a state had the same name, such as New York City, New York or Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

I suppose my quest to discover the biggest number was the most annoying to my parents. When I would ask what was the biggest number, I remember my parents answering, “There isn’t a biggest number” and “Infinity” and neither response seemed to satisfy my childhood wondering.

But I must have asked the biggest number question a  lot, because one time before we left on a long trip in the car to see my grandparents, my parents told me to ask my grandfather when we got to Kansas. And then they presented me with the 101 Answers book to read during the trip!

During that long road trip to Kansas I remember reading in that book about the biggest number and being fascinated that the biggest number that had been named at the time was ten to the power of one hundred (a 1 with a hundred zeroes). It was called a “Google!”

That was long before there was an Internet and a Google search engine. The name of the number, of course, became the basis for the company’s name.

So, you would think that a person with my vast knowledge and experience from asking all those questions as a child and after reading through the 101 Answers book would know, as an adult, the answers to just about any question the toddlers posed.

But one question that Kenzie has been asking lately has me stumped. It’s one of those “What’s the biggest number” questions. There’s not a definite answer.

She’s been asking this question, “What comes after the clouds?”

Now I’m not sure if the question is meant to be meteorological or epistemological! Does she want a weather report or is she in search of truth?

Since we have had unusually rainy and stormy weather conditions lately, her question might represent some fears about the weather and one possible response to her question based on where we live could certainly be, “a tornado.”

But the answer I like to give her is “Sunshine.”

That seems like a pretty good response, speaking both meteorologically and epistemologically!

Since it’s Memorial Day weekend and the time of the year when we remember those who have served our country as well as our loved ones who have died, our thoughts and memories have especially been on Nanna.

It’s been two years this month since we lost her.

Now, Nanna was always insistent about taking flowers to the cemetery on Memorial Day. So, I want to keep the tradition going with the toddlers.

Yesterday, we made a trip to the cemetery to place flowers on Nanna’s grave. As we left the grave site and walked back to the car, Kaleb became overwhelmed with emotion and began crying almost uncontrollably.

Maybe it was too much for him to deal with, I don’t know. Grief has some strange ways about it. It pops up at some most unexpected times and in some most unexpected ways.

Today at church the pastor’s sermon was on the subject of grief. As I listened to what he had to say about grief and compared it with my own experience over the last two years, strangely Sissy’s question kept popping up in my mind.

“What comes after the clouds?”
“What comes after the clouds?”
“What comes after the clouds?”

And suddenly it all became clear…I finally knew what the answer was!

Here’s what comes after the clouds…

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