Monday, August 26, 2013

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and a Final Destination

My family loves vacations. We love them so much, in fact, that we make them almost as strenuous at work. I know that people often say that they need a vacation after their vacation, but after one of our classic family adventures, you'd probably mistake our post-vacation sleep sessions for comas. I have never experienced the lazy summer of sitting at a resort's pool, drinking lemonade, and reading a book. Nay sir, my family's vacations consisted of months of research before the trip, (mostly done by my dear mother) frantic train/plane/automobile ventures, and half-visited tourist sites.

And when I say half-visited, I mean that we would get to our destination, go to the popular, tourist-y area, let our eyes absorb its wonder and majesty for a total of 3.72 seconds, then pop out of there like it was our job. We probably did this to go find the less-populated, local-approved restaurants and shops, but it was definitely a harrowing experience.

That being said, we were in Santorini, Greece one afternoon, and I noticed that we were actually taking a pretty relaxed stroll through the town and talking. I must have been about 13-15 years old, and for whatever reason, my thoughts turned to the afterlife. I asked my family something along the lines of, "Will we be a family in heaven?"

I believe it was my mother who responded with a reference to Matthew 22, which says:

"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
To understand what happened next, you must understand my family. I thoroughly believe that my family is one of the most closely connected ones on the planet, with a lot of love to spread. With them being so important to me, it rocked me to my core to think that our family wasn't going to look exactly the same way in heaven. Now, you must also understand another thing: there weren't many ideas that could emotionally affect me as a child. I was almost always very happy, content, and stable. As twilight fell, that night was painted not only in the orange flares of sunset, but also tinted with a hue of sadness at the idea that heaven might not be as great as I was told.

It took me a long time to realize that heaven was something to look forward to and treasure, mainly because my life here on earth was so blessed (something which I thank God for every day). What I began to understand, however, is how much heaven was actually a fulfillment of what I was created for. Today, I heard in a video that a woman's body is made for pregnancy and birth. In much the same way, our souls were built for heaven, the place where we could be in perfect union and communion with our Maker, without the hindrance of sin and brokenness.

I could much belabor this point, but what I'm getting at is that everything about who we are, our aspirations, our desires, and our needs were all made to find their resting place in the throne room of God. My closeness with my family was God's way of showing me that this connection that created so much joy in my life was simply a fractionated piece of what total, perfect completion in Christ would be.

Now that's an idea that I'd like to entertain by the side of a pool with lemonade and book in hand.

Who am I kidding? I'll probably just think about it on the train/plane/automobile.


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