crazy days and longings for timelessness

Yesterday Rob's grandmother died (not "passed", DIED. I dislike softening the harsh reality of death) so we are making plans to go to the funeral in OKC this Saturday. I think we're going to leave straight from work tomorrow (Thursday) and drive to Rob's sister Jennifer's house about 4 hours away in Iowa to stay the night. We'll carpool with them early Friday morning for the 11-hour drive to OKC, getting there in time for bed on Friday. The funeral service is 10:30 Saturday morning, after which we'll spend time with the fam until evening. We'll pull out of OKC Saturday evening and drive half-way back to Minneapolis, finishing the drive on Sunday morning.

The reason for such haste is that this coming week is the kick-off week for TBI... starting with a picnic on Sunday afternoon at a retreat center, where I will leave Rob for Sunday & Monday nights for his "male bonding time" retreat with all the TBI guys, from which He'll come back on Tuesday evening in time for bed. Wednesday is new student Orientation Day, and Thursday is the first day of classes!

Somewhere in between all this we hope to fit in some breathing, and maybe even some eating, if we're really lucky! ;)

On another note, Rob read me a letter he wrote his grandma right before she died, and it was amazing (perhaps I can convince him to post it on his blog). It made me long for heaven all over again. It's funny, before anyone close to me died, I rarely thought much about heaven... but when my mom's father died in 2004, it awakened a whole level of thoughts and feelings inside me. Every verse I read about heaven, every song I sing that has a line about being with the Lord, and every prayer or sermon that has heaven in its theme is so much more REAL to me now that I know people who are there. And every time another person I love goes there, it makes me want to go all that much more. I mean, really... no more pain or sadness; all mysteries revealed; no more dim sight, instead seeing Him face-to-face?? Yes, please! Not to mention the streets of gold, timelessness (uh, YEAH!), the endless delights that will always thrill us, and being with those who have gone before. As the Gettys so eloquently put it:
"As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory."

Two of the things I am looking forward to the most are having long, deep, sweet, and even funny, one-on-one talks with Jesus (I imagine sitting side by side in the grass on a warm sunny afternoon, maybe next to a stream, eating grapes and cheese&crackers together), and corporate worship "services" where I'll be part of millions and millions of people singing the most gorgeous songs of all genres, lifting up the Name of the Lord as He sits on His throne. I can't quite comprehend that, but I can compare it to times I've had here on earth and then imagine it magnified by 1000... and that thought makes me tear up immediately. One of the things I like about that thought is the fact that all of us believers will be 100% unified. Right now, I can name about 10 people off the top of my head that I'm looking forward to restored relationships with! All the little divisions that shear apart relationships will be totally gone; we'll all think the same way, because we'll all KNOW HIM as He really IS. Ahhh... THAT is my over-arching longing that fuels my desire to get to heaven! Now just to live this little life that He's given me and get that outta the way so I can go there already!

There's a verse in a song by Derek Webb about the Wedding Feast of the Lamb that touches a place deep inside me every time I sing it. It's a beautiful word picture of how we will enjoy the fullness of redemption in heaven. It's an invitation to finally exchange, for the last time, our "sordid history" for His Body and Blood, and partake of the freedom that they have bought for us:
Because I am My beloved's
And My beloved's Mine;
So, you bring all your history,
I'll bring the bread and wine.
Then we'll have us a party
Where all the drinks are on Me
And as surely as the rising sun
Oh, you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free!
Yeah!! Who's comin' with me?


wmsl said...

Lately I've become aware of how little I think about heaven anymore. My sis is my inspiration though, always reminding me that *all this* is just temporary, there's a whole other glorious adventure awaiting us. Don't know why that's so hard to remember at times.

And my sympathy to your husband and his family for their loss.

Lily Pad PR said...

I will keep you in my most heartful thoughts this weekend as you make the long drive and celebrate the life of Rob's grandmother.

I'm the same way about not softening the 'blow' of death... even though the departed may be enjoying their next life, it is still an intense and painful blow and emptiness for us that are still here.
I cannot imagine the intensity of the pain of losing someone I know is not a believer (have never experienced that as I know of), the pain of losing someone who is a believer is hard enough.

(sorry for the hijack) hope you make the long journey safely and your visitation w/ family is somewhat soothing to you loss...
much love...

Robert said...

I'm with ya, Babe. As that one song we can't remember the title of goes...

"Oh magnify the Lord
Exalt His name and sing with me
Oh magnify the Lord
Exalt His name, the King of Kings."

Johanna said...

hallelujah amen about heaven! :-) what a glorious day that will be. I need to find my Derek Webb and blast that song tonight - it's one of my favs. Happy trails as you guys go down to OK. We're praying for you.