It is Easter and I have been thinking about resurrection and finding life where there has been death. I have been thinking about heaven and what it might be like when we pass from this world to the next.
I remember reading once that heaven was the place where things that are lost would be found. I like that thought because throughout my life I have lost a lot of things. Some of those things were able to be replaced, keys and books, for instance, articles of clothing, pieces of jewelry, poems or photographs. Others were not. I may have bought something new to take the place of the thing that is missing, but somehow it never fully satisfied me in the way the first thing, the lost thing, had done. Other things could never be replaced. Friends, for example, people I cared about who wandered in and then one day out of my life, leaving without a forwarding address. Moments of unfettered grace in which I can’t exactly call up the circumstances any more but I still know they happened. My innocence that fell away in pieces and my naïveté about the intentions and motivations of some people that seemed to have been lost in one fell swoop. I have lost, and regret having done so, the way loved ones, dead now, looked when they were content and what it was that used to make me laugh so hard that my face hurt.
I lost my fearlessness when I fell off the back of a motorcycle and I lost my need to be the best or win first place when I discovered that not everything in life is about winning. I lost the knowledge and anticipation that my plans will turn out as I expect and the notion that bad things won’t happen to good people. Not all of the things I lost, therefore, are missed or necessary or important. But sometimes I would just like to see them again just to remember what it was that I used to think was so wonderful about them. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that chance, of course because even though I believe in heaven, I don’t really know what it will be like. And if I’m honest, even in this season of Easter, I don’t know if Jesus physically rose from the dead either. I guess somewhere along the way I lost the need for that kind of certainty too. If pushed I would say I like the thought of heaven as a grand place of love and sweet reunions and I like the thought of Jesus, up from the grave, skipping down the street holding hands with a friend who didn’t go anywhere and laughing about what he had missed in the three days he was gone.
Truthfully, part of the reason I’m a pastor, a bearer of good news, is because I’d like to be the one to tell him, “don’t worry, one day soon, you’ll get it all back.”