Monday, June 6, 2011

the flash (and what i hope heaven holds).

 {photo by Beth Retro via Joye's Pinterest}

My husband and I were talking the other day about places. How certain locations and spaces make us feel. How they evoke emotions and bring back memories and play games with our minds.

This weekend, we attended the wedding of one of our best friends from college. And they are true, those movies Hollywood puts out every few years. The reunion films, I call them. The Big Chill. St. Elmo’s Fire. The Romantics. When big groups of friends reunite, nostalgia wells up. I am taken back to who I was nearly eight (can it really be eight?) years ago, and I realize I am becoming a grown-up, adult version of myself, and I wonder if I am who I thought I would be, if my old friends can possibly know and understand the 25-year-old version of me that is now roaming this earth.

As I sat surrounded by the people who shaped so much of who I am in this moment, I had this overwhelming feeling of déjà vu.

If I were a swearing kind of person, I would have sworn to you that I had been in that church before. That I had been in that chapel, in those chairs, at that table.

And I hadn’t ever in my life set foot there.

It reminded me of that conversation Jordan and I had held just days ago. How the places we go can bring back such strong feelings in the core of ourselves.

In one of L.M. Montgomery’s novels, Emily of New Moon, Emily experiences these moments. She calls them The Flash. (Read more in this post.)
It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside — but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond — only a glimpse and heard a note of unearthly music.
I get the feeling every so often, and I wonder now if it has less to do with where we are and more to do with who we are with.

I wonder if it’s not just a random feeling of déjà vu, but if it is, instead, a glimpse at who we are called to be, at the more we do not yet know.

I wonder if what I experienced this weekend was a taste of Heaven.

Surrounded by dear friends with whom I shared life and love and loss in four very critical years, I felt loved and appreciated and known. For the first time in a long time, I felt comfortable, at ease. I fit. I belonged.

And the thing is, I know I fit right where I am.

I have friends in Tallahassee that I absolutely treasure, that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

And I have moments with them too; the flash comes when we’re gathered at my dining room table, or when we’re laughing at a party or planning our next event. The flash comes when I’m holding hands with Jordan or traveling down a pretty road or sharing dreams about our future.

The flashes are all around, and I feel them so very deep in my soul that I wonder if it is God telling me, “Child. This? This moment? This so-good-you-can-hardly-believe-it feeling? This is Heaven. And there is more. Just you wait.”

My college years were not perfect. I am not content to say they were the best years of my life. (I am of the firm belief that the best is always yet to come.)

But the more people that I meet, the more I realize how lucky I was. The more I wish people had what I had.

These friends we laughed and broke bread with grew up with me. For nearly four years, they were my home away from home. They sought the Father with me. Wanted more from me. Asked questions and begged for answers and attended parties and planned road trips and walked to class and talked about truth.

I miss it. I forget in the day-to-day moments, of course (because that is how it should be), but this weekend, after three years of separation, I felt at home again.

And the flash came, and it wasn’t déjà vu.

It was a hint of things to come.

Maybe the Father sends the flash to let us know that this life is so indescribably good.

But there is more — so much more — that we will experience.

Perhaps the Father, in all His wisdom, knows that we need these moments to confirm that we have done the right thing. We have met the right people. Our spirits have become entwined and no matter the time or the distance that separates us, something bigger bonds us.

I have trouble, sometimes, picturing Heaven as these streets of gold, with big white mansions lining the streets. (It’s an image, frankly, that has always bothered me. I don’t want my own mansion. The very thought of it seems so lonely.) I wonder, though, if that picture isn’t really Heaven at all. If maybe Heaven is just really good friends, kindred spirits, eating and laughing and swapping stories and content in the act of finally being reunited: with one another and with the Spirit that bound them together in the first place.

If that’s the case — and oh, how I hope that it is — I think I experienced some of Heaven this weekend.

And I am grateful for an imaginative Father who is gracious enough to deliver those moments, to send me the flash right when I need it the very most.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I've had these moments too and I've also thought that they were little glimpses of heaven. The interesting/wonderful thing is that they are usually very simple moments - chatting and laughing with friends,leisurely driving down a quiet road, etc. I love the big, grand adventures that I get to have sometimes, but I'm also aware that the simplest things often bring me much happiness and a feeling of closeness to God.