Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eternal Awe...

Several weeks ago, I was sitting on a round couch in the lobby of the Heart Care building at work. I had finished my shift and was waiting for Glen to meet me so we could go to the Athletic Club, which is located in that building. The Heart Care building was built by the hospital about a decade ago, so I am very familiar with this building and wasn't paying much attention to decor of the lobby.

As I waited, a woman came in through the entrance with her little boy. He was about five or six. He looked around the lobby, from the huge crystal chandilier, to the rosewood and glass curved staircase, to the slate waterfall and then exclaimed the single word, " W-O-W!" He continued his wide-eyed surveillance of the lobby as his mother took him by the hand to wherever it was they were going. It was obvious that he was impressed and enthralled with his surroundings. I, however, had long since lost any sense of grandeur from the lobby, mostly because I was so familiar with it.

This little boy's wide eye wonder made me think that this surely must be how we will feel when we first arrive in Heaven, only our awe will be such that I doubt we will even be able to utter the single word, "WOW!". And unlike our little friend, who would eventually grow used to the lobby of the Heart Care building and no longer find it a place of unbelievable sights, just as I did, in Heaven, we will never lose that sense of awe and wonder. We will always be finding new vistas of Glory which take our breath away, which cause us to see new facets of the Glory of our Lord, new dynamics of His power and wonder and grace demonstrated through His creation and those He has redeemed. Our wide-eyed wonder, our sense of joy and elation, our jaw-dropping amazement will never, end, for He is a "shoreless ocean" whose great depths can never be sounded, whose horizon can never be found, whose mighty waves never crash to the shore, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. Hallelujah, What a Savior! "Even so, Jesus, come!"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Don't Want to Set The World on Fire...

...I only want to start a flame in your heart.

Perhaps it was the chilly, wet, grey weather. Perhaps it was the way that weather makes all your joints ache when you move. Maybe it was because I was sitting across from the small window at the cafe looking out at the grim sky and the bare binestems of a solitary tree, watching an occasional gull fly past. Maybe it was because my Daddy's birthday will roll around in another ten days. He would have been, what, 91 this year? But he has been gone what will be twelve years next month. Anyway, Glen and I were sitting at the cafe, each doing our own work on our computers and the cafe was playing old music on the intercom. I really wasn't paying attention to the music until unexpectedly the words of the old song not only got my attention, they flung me far into the past. I could hear my father strumming on his guitar and singing those words..."I don't want to set the world on fire....I just want to start to a flame in your heart!" All of a sudden I was a little girl again whose only man in her life was her daddy, and my eyes filled with tears as I thought that I would love to hear him sing that funny old song to me just one more time.

At work this week, I attended an in-service on "Compassion Stress Fatigue". If I had known what the first "exercise" had been I would have surely opted to not go. We each were given a brown paper bag and slips of paper. On the slips of paper we wrote down things we loved (mine were people), things we loved doing, things we looked forward to doing in the future. Then we rolled the top down on our bags and shook them up. We were told the bags represented our lives. Then we were to imagine that we were given the diagnosis of inoperable cancer and we had six weeks to live. We were to open the bag and take out the slips of paper, slowly read what was on the paper, say goodbye to whatever was on it and tear it up. The first piece of paper I took up had the name "Jackson" on it -- my grandson. Immediately I was in tears. I could not tear up that piece of paper. How would I say goodbye to that piece of my heart? Then the moderator said something that put it all in perspective for me. "Tear up that thing you love and know you will never see it again!" I realized that if I know the Lord Jesus as my Savior and if those who are written on those slips know Him as Savior, then cancer and even death cannot truly separate us. As one hero in a romantic comedy says, "Death cannot end true love, it can only delay it awhile." For Christians, we know that death is only a temporary separation. There is another day coming, a day of reunion, a day in which we will have a perfect bond and union in which we will be together forever. After I remembered that, I was able to tear up all the other slips of paper without the emotional upheaval that the moderator expected. I had a Blessed Hope of which she was unaware.

Sitting in the cafe, my eyes still wet with the tears of missing my Daddy, Glen asked me to pick out a weekly memory version for the Orange Moon Devotionals. I knew exactly which one I would choose. The one which reminds me that there will be a day when my Daddy and I will indeed, meet again:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I Thessalonians 4:16,17

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Too Quickly...

I wrote the following last May, intending to finish it and post it, but I have just "found" it in my documents on my computer. It is even more appropriate now than it was then, with my oldest daughter getting her career as a lawyer underway and my youngest daughter preparing to graduate from high school. Where do the years go? How thankful I am that, as Glen always says, "Its early in eternity"...

Today at the bookstore, I looked up to see a little girl wearing a pink dress, walking down the aisle toward the cashier, carrying some “treasure” she had found. Her face was full of enthusiasm and youthful joy with her prize. Only a few feet away stood my adult daughter, looking thoughtfully at a book, having just graduated from law school the previous evening. I glanced from the little girl, to the adult woman and thought to myself that the journey had been way too short, it all happened so very fast.

When life is spread out before us, it is like the sliver of a road on the horizon,sometimes seeming like it will never end, but then all of a sudden, the twists and turns are upon us before we know it.

As we rode through the University campus, I remembered our previous visits, even the very first day we brought our daughter here for college. What seemed like it should feel like ages ago seemed like just yesterday, and it seemed like just a few months since her high school graduation, just a few years since she started first grade. The days, the months, the years have passed so quickly and we are here so much faster than I thought we would be.

If I could go back to myself years ago when my oldest daughter was a dark-haired little toddler, who loved to play quietly with her baby brother nearby, I would try to tell myself how fast the years would pass – even though the days may seem long. I would tell myself to savor the moments, to try to enjoy each of their stages to the fullest, because once they are gone, that child is gone forever and the older child is in its place. I would tell myself to not try to rush through any time in my children’s lives – time itself will rush things enough. I would tell myself to pray pray for the things my children would have to face in the years to come; things I could anticipate and things I could never guess would cross their paths. I would tell myself to pray more for their father and for myself as well, that we we know how the Lord would want us to lead them and teach them and help them to know the truths the Lord has in His word. I would tell myself to be encouraged, that the Lord never stops working in their lives, and the He is always faithful, even when we don't make the choices of faith that we should.

I think the last thing that I would tell myself is that when I see my children grow into adulthood and I am tempted to mourn the loss of those sweet, tender little children, I would tell myself what great, wonderful adults they would become and what incredible friends I would have from those adults. I would encourage myself to just wait...that as wonderful as the days are when my babies are small, there are great, wonderful days ahead!