After a couple years I began to time how long it took us to settle into these conversations. One year when we were a little frustrated with each other it took us over an hour to settle into the comfortable communion we typically shared, marking an unpleasant record that was never repeated. Thankfully. On such journeys, we would speak of all things, often beginning with relational oddities in our lives and moving on to dreams, goals, plans, and prayers. And no matter how far away from each other we felt beginning the journey, we were always caught up by the end.
Returning home is such a common theme in literature that it feels trite to talk about it. There's a line in a song by Mumford and Sons (don't ask me which one, that was Emt's job) that goes:
It's not the long walk home that will change your heart, but the welcome you receive with the restart.That particular line has resonated with the Romans 8 verse that has been on my heart recently:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (18)How do we stay focused on this incomprehensible glory and the often intangible love of God when present sufferings, even the mundane sufferings, are so distracting?
We have this great, amazing home in heaven that Christ has gone to prepare for us. Combine that promise the picture of the prodigal son's father waiting to welcome us home and throw us a party. Think of that - a father who loves us so recklessly that he throws off all dignity to run out to meet us. Doesn't that make your heart soar? Yeah, for about 5 seconds before reality comes crashing in on your heartwarming daydream full of butterflies and big hair and cheesy 90s love songs.
But seriously, daydreams aside, the knowledge of how well I am loved should change me in radical ways. And yet, radical is not always filled with blue skies and soft breezes and perfectly coiffed hair. Truth be told, radical is often more like a dirty, sweaty rock climber clinging so desperately to the rock face that his leg muscles are spasming worse than teenagers at a rock concert.
Shortly after taking our baby daughter off life support, I asked Emmett to sing the doxology with me because I knew if I didn't praise God in that moment then I might never praise him again. Shortly after Emmett passed we gathered in the living room, and once again I asked to sing the doxology for the same reason. So I suppose that when I consider my present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in me, I cannot deny the depth of suffering, whether mine or others. I can however recognize that if pain can be this acute on earth right now, then the joy of heaven with God and Jesus (and perfect hair) must be mind blowing. And that hope keeps me clinging to the rock face, often out of sheer stubbornness, but at least I'm still clinging.