Dear Andy, It's Me Again

Dear Andy,

It’s me again. It’s been 15 years since we lost you. So much has happened since then in my life and around the world. Life continued on, but life as I knew it was altered. The world changed on that day… I changed that day. One significant thing for me was I started thinking about Heaven. I never thought of it much before that day. I believed in it but I was more consumed with this life and those thoughts left little room to think about the ever after. So many hopes and dreams as a young college student, my mind filled with so many what-ifs, “What will I major in? Who will I marry? What am I going to do for the rest of my life?” But the day you arrived in heaven was the day I started really thinking about it.

I used to wonder what heaven would look like. I remember looking at my mom’s jewelry box and thinking “The streets of heaven are going to be made of this?” Picking up a gold ring and a pearl necklace I imagined the pearly gates and streets of gold, and the city walls made of colorful jewels. But before that day, that was all it was, more of a wonder than a longing.

The reminders continued as life went on. When your daughter kicks, screams and rolls around in the movie theater because the movie, that was probably piloted and tested on numerous kid groups so that every minute is designed to extract nothing but utter exuberance for a normal kid, is just too overwhelming for yours, the characters and their fast talking and gestures are menacing and frightful to her, or that time when she was 3 and ½ on a flight where she screamed nearly the whole 10hrs because the air pressure is too much for her to handle, I’ll never forget the faces of anger and resentment and disdain, she no longer looked like a baby anymore but looked like a bratty 4 year old. That ride was so harrowing because while I was covering her face into my chest as she screamed and the onlookers glared, it made me think, “What if this will be the rest of her life?”

Not that I don’t see glimpses of heaven on earth, I do. I see it when the sun rises and its piercing light engulfs the majestic Hawaiian topography, and pink rays of light seem to shoot out through the mountains. I see it in Kaitlyn when she laughs and presses her face against mine. I see it in the light in Audrey’s eyes during peek-a-boo. I see it in my husband and son’s bedtime jokes and laughter. Though God has filled my life with so many hints and incredible tastes of heaven, I know a little better now than to mistake the preview for the movie.

Though I know what heaven will look like is beyond the scope of my imagination, heaven is not about what anymore, it’s about who.  I think about resting my weary eyes on Jesus and being embraced and welcomed, to have every hope and desire satisfied. I know I will never understand the feelings of dissatisfaction on earth, as the day they are fulfilled.  I think about seeing you again and being welcomed by your laugh, seeing your gifts as a worship leader in its fullness, because it won’t be about merely trying to usher us to think about heaven and God because we’ll be there.

The day you left to heaven is the day I realized how short and tenuous life on earth is. At times when I wished I had committed my life to something anything other than ministry, I go back to that day. Life is too short to not live in light of eternity and doing what I believe He has created me to do. I’m not ready yet, but preparing, thinking and hoping for that day. For now, I Can Only Imagine, till we meet again.

 

Joy

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