Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Longest Dream

A friend once told me: “When your kids are young, the years go by fast but the days go so slow.” It’s true, isn’t it? For all of us, I mean. No matter how old we are or what we’re going through, part of the human condition is that the here-and-now seems to inch along and the future stretches out endlessly ahead of us, while the past is... Gone. Instantly.

I suppose I’m thinking about the passing of time because Matt’s godfather died this week. Uncle Charles battled numerous illnesses in his life, beat cancer twice, survived several surgeries and was finally overcome by an infection that spread throughout his body from the portal for his third barrage of chemo treatments. Even then, when the doctor said he had anywhere from a day to a week left, Uncle Charles held on longer than anyone expected that he would. The hospital staff called him the Iron Man because of it.

Uncle Charles was one of those strong-and-silent types. In the few times I’ve been blessed to spend time with him and Aunt Sue, he sat quietly in the big group, smiling while the ladies talked (and talked and talked and talked). But one-on-one, he had some mighty strong convictions, and he didn’t hesitate sharing them. His favorite statement in recent years was, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds my future.”

I think that’s what I’ll remember most about Uncle Charles: The only thing stronger than his will to live was his faith in Christ.

Keith Green had this great song where he described his experience of accepting Jesus “like waking up from the longest dream,” and I’ve often thought that dying will be the same way. This life certainly feels real, and I don’t doubt its importance or its relevance, but in the eternal scheme of things, what we go through on this earth is only one dimension of the life that is to come.

That comforts and inspires me. Because just like my dreams, there are lots of things in this life that don’t make sense. Just like my dreams, I get caught up in thinking that what I’m experiencing right now is all there is. And just like my dreams, I have to remind myself of what’s really real and what only feels that way.

I’m thankful for Uncle Charles, for all that he meant to Matt's family and for his example of hope and humility, faith and love, determination and strength. Since his death, I’ve been picturing him in Heaven, waking up to a bigger, brighter, bolder reality than any of us can imagine. Even in our wildest dreams.

* * * * *
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am. (John 14:1-3 NLT)

No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea... I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light... Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations... No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 21:1, 22-24a and 22:1-5 NIV)


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Laura, for this tribute to a man that blessed our lives over and over again!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute, and what a legacy of faith he left for the entire family! mom

Old Yeller said...

"Where an ordinary woman makes a modern attempt to stay in touch with family and friends around the world."
That's a very nice goal. I was searching the lines to a Keith Green song and your blog came up. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks again. Kathie