I've been thinking recently about how many of my hopes are hung on some elusive day in the future.... The day I can breathe a sigh of relief that my children have turned out "okay", the day I become the perfect wife, the day self-discipline comes as naturally as breathing, the day I'm able to maintain my home and responsibilities with ease and balance, the day there is justice in our land, etcetera. (My list goes on and on.) Even as a small child I always was looking forward to some event; my birthday, school being out, Christmas, a trip. These are the sort of things that come and then are gone, unlike my list of ideals as an adult. Most of those are worthy things to work towards, but really are unattainable.
Listening to the way people talk, the way the media feeds the idea that if only we had certain things we would then be happy, makes me think this is innate to our humanity. It's the waiting for your proverbial ship to come in.... someday. It's graduating from school, getting married, settling down or seeking adventure, having children, getting a promotion, retiring. It's always some time down the line, this elusive contentment we seek.
As humans we're filled with longings, some of them base and selfish, but many of them noble and good. On a natural, survival level we long to love and be loved, to be comfortable and happy in this life. And, I believe, because we are made in God's image, we long for peace and beauty and justice. So the thought that struck me as I was pondering these things, is that inborn in us is the longing for heaven. For there our hope will be fulfilled, for love and peace, for joy, and ultimately for perfection. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever then on some level we're longing for the fulfillment of what we were created for. Why is it far easier to let the cares of this earth weigh us down, to let our affections and hopes rest on things that will never ultimately satisfy us, for the very reason that they aren't meant to!
I remember thinking as a child that heaven sounded pretty boring. Granted, it sounded a whole lot better than hell, but I thought it would be... well, boring. The more I "grow up" though, the better it sounds. I have had, and do have, a wonderful life. I have a great family, amazing husband, precious children. I'm living the life I've always wanted to, being a wife and mama. There is a feeling though, of anticipation, of still longing for that "some day". The best way I can describe it is by remembering how I was so eager to be married during my late teens and first half of my twenties. Over time I did learn to be content, but I felt strongly that my "calling" was to be a wife and mama and that there was part of me that would be unfulfilled until that happened. And I was right- I love being married to Erik and caring for Peregrine and Alethea and wouldn't trade it for the world. But I'm realizing that nothing in this life will ever fully satisfy, that it's not supposed to, and that seeking perfection here will only disappoint. We're made for heaven, made for glory; all of the happiness we seek here is but a shadow of the real thing.
Losing Esther has been one thing that's made me think more about heaven. Ultimately she is where I want all of my children to be. Amidst the pain and the sorrow there is a sigh of relief, knowing that she is safe, that she is Home. I've always had "wanderlust". I never feel fully at home, and I'm starting to realize that it's because I'm not. I am a pilgrim here. As long as I am here there will be pain and sorrow, there will be, on some level, discontent. I need to be reminded- often- to think on things that are eternal, because I'm just so earthbound. I need to remember that we are just "camping" here, and it's nice in many ways, but that most of it is not nearly as important as it seems.
Someday..... we will be Home. I will be reunited with my precious daughter. The pain I've caused others and the hurt I've known will matter no more. We will fall at the feet of Jesus, we will join the saints around the throne singing "Holy, Holy, Holy"!
Even so, come Lord Jesus!