Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picking Up Where We Left Off

Last weekend was amazing. My son and I flew (or rather, were flown) to Boston to be with a dear friend of mine, Nancy, as she made a public profession of her Christian faith through the act of baptism. It was a very special, emotionally-electric reunion for my friend and I, having not seen one another in 13 years. We met under unconventional circumstances, and both of our lives have done 180-degree turnarounds in the past decade or so, and so this reunion was interesting, finding us both in completely different modes than when we'd last been together.

And yet, there was no awkwardness. No pretense. No need to get used to one another again. We fell into one another's arms at the airport, got some giggles out of our system, and then seemed to pick up our friendship right where we'd left off, with a flippant "So, anyway . . . "

It was very cool. Our connection seemed to transcend the time that's passed. It was as though we'd been together even while we'd been apart. And it made me think about Jesus.

I have this idea of what my arrival in Heaven will be like. I don't believe I'll have to stand in line at the pearly gates with my "Admit One" pass, waiting for Peter to stamp my hand. My Bible tells me that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" -- in other words, my last breath here will be my first breath there. And somehow I get the feeling that when I fall at Jesus' feet, it will be a bit like when I fell into Nancy's arms -- as if we'd been together all the time we'd been apart.

Now, I know I'm stretching things a bit; seeing an old friend surely cannot begin to compare to seeing the savior of my soul face-to-face for the very first time. Don't get me wrong; I am in no way trying to minimize or humanize the unfathomable magnitude of that moment. I'm only trying to wrap my mind around something in the here and now that might help me to glimpse just a wee bit of what I'll feel when the most blessed reunion of all takes place.

I'd held Nancy in my heart all those years, and so being in the same room with her didn't feel new or weird or forgotten. It felt only natural. And that's how I believe it will be when I am in the same room (as it were, since God is not or never has been confined by time or space) as my Lord. It will be amazing. Stunning. It will feel too good to be true. And yet, it will be only natural. As if it were the plan all along.

Our relationships on Earth are meant to be a model of our relationship to God. God Himself is relational -- before there was an "us" there was a Him, and even then He was not alone. God said, "Let Us make man in Our image" -- speaking to the other members of the Trinity. Relationship was at work, even before there were people with whom to relate. Is it any wonder God places such value on the importance of relationships?

I left Boston a very grateful girl. Grateful for friendship and common ground and heart connections. Grateful to know that I am loved by one who knows me on a heart level, and in whose presence I could be myself from the very moment I stepped off the plane.

It's only a teeny, one-dimensional thumbnail picture of what that other Great Reunion promises, but I am grateful for the foretaste of what I cannot otherwise begin to imagine.

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