Yes, Forever

I was standing on a beach near sunset.  The day had been perfect, one of those amazing days that can happen on a vacation, a day filled with the laughter of children, and the discovery of strange creatures in the ocean, mild adventures, lots of laziness.  We’d all gotten a little too much sun, and the evening was cool and breezy and left us all very mellow.

Do I need to describe that pink light that hits a beach near sunset?  If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I mean, and if you’ve never been, I can’t make you understand, but it’s the light where everyone looks perfect, with just enough light, just enough color, just enough everything to make you think perhaps this very moment is meant to last forever.  How could any moment ever look or feel more content and peaceful than this one?

Part of me hates moments like that, little glimpses of things to come.  There’s a promise in the perfect beach moments, the song that gives you goose bumps, the events that make your heart soar, a promise of better things, perfect things, future things.  But the moments end, and the reality crashes back down painfully, the reality that screams from every direction Not Yet.

I wasn’t made to die.  My kids and my family and even my pets weren’t made to end.  As much as life can be awful, we cling.  Something deep inside knows we’re not finite creatures.  Even the promise of some distant heaven is somehow wrong, because my heart knows I was made for this place.  Eternity was set in my heart, and it’s eternity here.  This place is filled with beauty and wonders I’ve never seen, never experienced, never tasted and touched, and I am drawn to see and do it all, explore every nook of this place before I go.  But I know I can’t do that.  Nobody can do that.

I hope this is truly where we end up.  I’ve heard many theories on heaven and earth in the final kingdom, and I don’t know what to expect.  I know it will be good, and that knowledge will have to do.  But my biggest hope is that it will turn out to be here, made what it was originally meant to be.  I will see the deepest canyons and crawl through their secret places.  I will plumb the darkest oceans and play with her creatures.  The peaks of mountains will be my playground, and the highest falls will drop onto my shoulders.  I have a lot yet to do.  I wonder if Jesus will accompany me on my explorations.  I wonder if you will accompany me.  We have so much time to see and do and create so many amazing things.  And the glory of God will smile on us and light our way with living, breathing, compassionate light every step of the way.  Light with heart and soul.  I can’t even fathom it.

Time passes, and I struggle with that.  I don’t like to read books where a character’s life passes from birth to death in two hundred pages.  I don’t like old photos or videos of my children way back when.  Part of me wants to pretend today is all there is, that those perfect promise moments don’t exist, that nobody will ache and hurt and leave, even when the leaving is to a better place.  And so many leave never to return to the adventure again…my heart weeps.  But it doesn’t weep enough, for I don’t plead with most of them to join me.  How can I not plead with them to join me?  Who am I to think this little tiny journey through such an amazing world is enough and not give them some hope that this could be their playground forever?  How can I not introduce them to the creator who will laugh with them and comfort them and love them beyond the limits of time?

I don’t know if I’ll see a beach again, not in this version of the world (and no, I’m not dying, not faster than any of the rest of you, just feeling the weight of life’s unknowns.).  But in the version to come, I hope you come hang out in the surf with me.  Come climb the mountains and tackle the jungles and run through the meadows with me.  We weren’t meant to be finite, and I dream of the day we kick off time and the Not Yet becomes the Yes, Forever.

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