The following was an editorial in the Leadbelt News Wednesday, March 22, 1967.
Next Sunday will be Easter Sunday. The day will be observed in all nations of the world where Christianity exists No ruler, past or present, no king or prince or potentate, or any other name in all history is so remembered and acclaimed. Bells in churches, in temples and everywhere ring out the notes of humble praise to the Saviour of mankind. Easter will not be only reserved in the churches and the cathedrals, it will be observed here and there and nearby everywhere there is a special mood.
It is in countless homes where parents busily splash eggs with bright colors, while kids are out at play.
It is in stores where women, young and old, make last minute selections for new spring bonnets.
It is on the roads, in the bus and train terminals and in the air, where travelers head on holiday trips.
It is in the narrow streets of old Jerusalem, in the great plazas of Rome, and at shrines and sacred sites in many lands, where pilgrims gather.
It is at mountain side amphitheaters, in woods and parks and stadiums and churches huge celebrations are being readied for Easter.
Some weeks ago I received one of the most remarkable letters I have ever read in my fifty-four years as a newspaper editor. It was written by Mrs. F. L. Porter of French Village, Mo., to her little niece, Beth Painter, before she left for her eternal home. It is being published because of the beautiful picture of Heaven which it contains and in the hope that it may serve as a guide post along the narrow road for your entry into the eternal and everlasting home where Beth is awaiting your arrival.
In the Book of Mark I find the following. “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not for such is the Kingdom of God.”
Last night I saw your daddy and from what he told me I know something I want to tell you. Soon you will be all well again — isn’t that wonderful news? He said that you are in a truly fine hospital and have the best doctors and nurses but they can’t make you well and a new doctor is coming from another land who will take all of your hurts away and you will be able to run and play again. He won’t give you any shots or medicine, but He will heal your body with love. He is called the Great Physician and He knows exactly what to do. I can’t tell you what he looks like, but you will know Him as soon as you see Him. I have read many things about the doctor and ,Beth, He especially loves little children. He knows you have been so sick and He wants to help you.
Now this doctor lives in a beautiful city and He will let you go with Him because He has been waiting for you and has everything ready. There will be so many new things to see — wonderful beautiful things — why, Beth, they say even the streets where He lives are paved with gold — imagine that! There will surely be lots of pretty flowers there and you can run and gather all you want. You never did really have all the flowers you wanted, did you? And oh,Beth, the music there must be really special!
Last night I cried so because I remembered how you told me you hurt when you were in the hospital before, but today I won’t cry since I know that you’ll be so happy soon. I am busy thinking of all the joy that is waiting for you when you leave the hospital bed. Maybe you will have a new pony. I hope he is pure white, but he might be like your Blackie and I hope you have a new saddle that has all those pretty sparkly things on it; and a real cowboy dress with lots of fringe and a big tall cowboy hat and new boots. I can just see you bouncing along on the pony with your hair all long and shiny and your eyes sparkling. You’ll be such a pretty picture. And laugh — oh how you’ll laugh!
I envy you Beth, some of us will never see those golden streets, but you will, this I know from the bottom of my heart and that’s the only reason I can possibly bear to let you go without me. You have made us all so happy in the short time we’ve had to hold and love you.
If you were older, I wouldn’t dare write these things to you because older people aren’t really very smart. They want to hold on to things simply because they are used to them, but little children are eager for new adventures and they believe with all their hearts; while big people get so filled up inside with fear and doubt. If you’ll remember about Jesus, it was the big people who wanted to destroy him — the children loved Him. So growing up isn’t so very special, is it?
Beth, when the new Doctor comes to you — take His hand and hold on tight and when you go to that new home look at everything carefully so that when we come you can show all of us the wonderful things you’ve seen. We won’t be long in coming — time passes much faster then we realize and one by one, all of us will be with you. We can’t come just now, because we all have work to do, but soon, my darling soon.
I love you, Beth,
(Anna Lee Porter, in a letter written September, 1965)