A large lamp burned above the table in the dining room

In his earliest childhood, Heikki had usually thought of God in the evenings, in his bed waiting for his mother to read the evening prayer.

On winter evenings, a large lamp burned above the table in the dining room, a stream of light flooding from an open door into Heikki’s room, from which the maid turned off the lamp as soon as Heikki had finished to bed after her evening wash. – She had a pleasant country in that warm bed, in a dim room, thinking of her mother and thinking of God, and everything she would ask of her again. During the day, he had most often seen and heard much that God’s attitude raised many questions in his mind.

When Mom then came, they read a little evening prayer together and Mom sat for a moment to chat on the edge of her bed. After all, my mother could answer the most wonderful questions, but she was still a lot dark. Sometimes Heikki was in pain until tears, but then his mother kissed him, wrapped the blanket carefully around him and said that when he grew up Heikki would understand… But it was not really any consolation, for his mother often said that no one could ever fully understand God. And how could one ever hope to understand something that had always been and always would be, boundless, infinite, omnipresent… It was all so incomprehensible and almost awful. If in some way Heikki had tried to circumvent his mother to admit, that behind the stars would come some wall in front. But it was never admitted by the mother, nor was it that anything would end. Even thinking about these in his bed, Heikki felt the same strange feeling as when he first looked at their attic from the window on the street…

God is love ön infinite love… so Mother had said about God ever since Heikki remembered. At first, it had satisfied him. On beautiful nights, when her mother left, she used to pull the window curtains aside, so that Heikki could see the starry sky from the window opposite her bed. And it was safe and entertaining for him to see the stars flashing far away where God actually lived, even though he might be everywhere. Even Heikki loved him, for he was so infinitely good, loving people more than their own fathers and mothers.

However, his last thought on many many evenings was that there would be a roof or a wall behind either of the stars, and that God would sometimes die and the sky would cease to exist…

Once at night, Heikki had had a bad sleep and, frightened, ran to the next room where his mother was sleeping. But the mother did not sleep, but cried half-dressed, leaning against the table. Heikki didn’t ask anything, but he too cried uncontrollably. His mother took him in his arms and tried to calm him down, but Heikki cried to slam. She now realized for the first time that some great calamity had put pressure on her mother, an calamity for which no eternal love seemed to create comfort. With his inexplicable instincts for the child, he saw the hardness of life as a squeezer of tears… and it was worse than his bad sleep.

Her mother took her to bed again and to entertain Heikki, she planned to pull the window curtains aside, as the moon seemed to be lit outside. But Heikki jumped up in horror. No, no, now she didn’t want to see the stars, neither the sky, nor God… She said nothing, but asked her mother to pull the window curtains shut, pulled the blanket over her ears, and finally slept in her sobbing.

After that, Heikki knew that her mother was often crying at night. When he sometimes woke up in the middle of the night, fire was visible from his mother’s room and Heikki heard him cry softly. – What was he crying about? That the father was dead? Why was his father dead? The mother said that God gave to everyone after her work, but Väinö of Hellfors and Kalle of Sandström were certainly much worse than he was, and their fathers were drunken painters… and their mother rummaged in the yard. So why did his father, who had been a master and a teacher, have had to die if once God was love and gave everyone according to his works…

Heikki asked his mother over and over again, but his answers were finally always the same: man does not see what God sees, yet he is love and only love directs his actions.

That summer, when Heikki turned eight, he lived with his mother with a distant relative in central Finland.

What was it that made him think of God there more than ever before? Was it an ever-changing swatch, almost windowless, visible from his window, at times reflecting white giant clouds, at times rolling over galloping foam heads, at times resounding like molten gold. Or was it the quiet temple peace of the salo region that constantly made me ask for the innermost, supreme essence of everything?

In these times, Heikki was extremely surprised that people talked so little about God and even death… But he believed that big people knew more about them even though they didn’t want to say it. There were so many things they didn’t say even though they knew…

That summer accommodated many beautiful and happy days when, in the evening, tired, he thought for the last time: God is love… happy, sleeping in anticipation of tomorrow. But then again came others in whom he understood nothing…

One morning the hostess of the house cried and the host walked speechless and gloomy. Mom told Heikki that at night there had been frost on the land, that a lot of grain had frozen, and that perhaps a year of roofing would be obtained through the land.

And one day the swallow’s nest had fallen from the eaves of the roof and the cat had eaten the chicks in the nest. The mother birds flew anxiously around the eaves, sometimes chamfering the ground where the crushed nest fragments were… A couple of days later, a man from a nearby croft drowned in the lake and neighbors told the mother that he had left a wife and five children in an empty room. –

These and other things he saw, heard and understood more from day to day, Heikki watched and listened in dismay.

He found that even in those days the sun was shining and setting golden behind a distant beach, as if it were looking at a happy, wonderful country…

And Mom still said that everything that happened had to happen… and that
God was love.