Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heaven

Monday afternoon, I was driving through the North Carolina countryside with Theocentrica. Seeing some weathered headstones alongside the road, I commented without preamble, "I want to die so I can be buried in a little cemetery on a farm." Theocentrica turned and smiled, saying, "Me too." Then, after a moment: "You're not allowed to be morbid like that."

Later that night I was Skyping the Cobbler, who was rather busy and frustrated, and at one point became frustrated myself and commented that we'd have time to talk to each other when we're dead.

On the plane ride back to Ohio yesterday, I finished A Severe Mercy, reading about death and time and eternity as I sat in what I affectionately referred as a flying deathtrap. (I'm a nervous sort; I am not suited for being 15 or 20 thousand feet above the ground in a glorified tin can.)

It all came together into a realization that I am starting to understand what the great saints felt when they wanted to die and go to Heaven. Not in a suicidal way, but...just longing, always, for their true home. I captured a bit of that longing two and a half years ago when I called myself the Sojourner. I am not meant to stay here forever. It's a waystation, a campsite.

There's a lot of selfishness in my desire still, which just goes to show that I'm no great saint yet. I want to be able to know and love the Cobbler in Heaven as I know and love him here, but better. Without the selfishness getting in the way. Without tiredness and crankiness and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune getting in the way. Without time getting in the way. Our dream on this earth is to get to a point where we have enough time for all the nothing we want, but I'm starting to think we'll never fully get to that point this side of death.

Underneath that immediate selfishness, though, is the broader realization that nothing is going to be perfect here. That's a hard pill for a perfectionist like me to swallow, but swallow it I must, for I live in a fallen world. There are perfect moments; I experienced at least one this past weekend with Theocentrica. I've experienced many with the Cobbler in the course of our relationship. But they are fleeting, hit-and-run encounters with beauty, with joy. And like C. S. Lewis I find that if I try to recreate that experience of joy it feels hollow, it tells me, "Don't look at me, I'm not really what you want."

What I really want, of course, is God, the ultimate cause of all joy. Only You, Lord... Someday I am going to say that and mean it with every fiber of my being.

2 comments:

Theocentrica said...

Homesick for Heaven... I know what that's like. *sigh*

Galadriel said...

This reminds me of something from C.s. Lewis's The Great Divorce:

"Not only this valley [the theoretical setting of the story, you know] but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved."

I know what you feel like, but don't squander the now, because eternity doesn't start in heaven.