You all remember that song? ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasure lies out there, somewhere beyond the blue’? Snippets of songs come to me all the time, why I can’t rattle off my kids’ soc numbers but can sing you about any song I’ve ever heard I’ll never know, idiot savant? Possibly.
I woke up with that song in my head, galloping in circles like a little merry-go-round. I tried to concentrate while Casey did his version of talking before 9am (which consists mostly of grunting and grimacing), tried to concentrate on driving and navigating the traffic that exists on the bridge even at 6:45am. Tried to concentrate on work as I logged in early. And it won’t leave me alone. So when inspiration strikes one must pull out the keyboard and get to work.
According to everything I have ever been told, this world indeed is not my home. Now I don’t know about treasure or streets of gold out in Sweet Beulah Land (I’ve been to Beulah, it’s great but I wouldn’t want to live there), but I know that there is supposed to be something waiting, that this whole life, this whole existence, all of this energy that snaps around in my brain and animates my earthly body; it must go somewhere. In one of my new favorite songs Lauren O’Connell sings that she believes, or at least she tries, that nothing is just born to die because she thinks that we’d all just wait if that were true.
But what does happen after? I am no scholar or theologian. My brother can run circles around me in interpreting scripture amidst all that was happening when it was written, he can connect the dots in the bible. I can’t claim to do that.
But my little post this morning is another confession. We strive for transparency. Here it is: I don’t want to know what comes after because I am happy here.
I don’t know what that says about me and my spirituality. I don’t know what that says about my trust in a loving God. But if He sent me an engraved invitation to join Him tomorrow, I’d have to find a way to say no, because I can’t leave the beauty and the brokenness of this world willingly. I just can’t.
Am I supposed to long for divinity? Should I yearn for the day Jesus will hold me in His arms and I will hear a heavenly chorus that puts our little church choir to shame? If I am, I can’t. I don’t.
I want to see my children become wonderful women. I want them to know me as adults, when they can see without the rosy veil of childhood the sometimes damaged woman their mother is. I want to be there when they realize that I was a person before they existed and became the center of my life. I remember that realization, that sudden knowing that they would never know me as Casey does. A person apart from them, and that I had never thought of my own mother that way; it was actually a tad shaming, the extent to which I thought my mother’s world and life should revolve around me, that casting aside of her as a separate person.
I want to be there when they make mistakes, when they tell me they hate me, when doors slam, when boyfriends are bad and girlfriends are worse. When they find their own paths and pursue them. I want to see how striking they will be as they grown into women.
I want to see Casey with a gray beard and grandchild on his lap. I want more dogs and cats, and chickens, don’t forget the chickens!
I want to see how the rising sun silvers the water in the river and turns the small islands pink.
I want to see how the same sun turns Lake Michigan into a sea of orange flickering fire when the sun sets. I want to smell the the lake and the electricity in the air before a thunder storm, hear the wind in the trees and babies laughing.
I guess I haven’t come far enough in my journey, eh? I think, and it brings a tear to my eye, but I think the whole point is to give all of that up. Isn’t that what dying to yourself means? To give up all of the I want? And to say instead, I will, here I am, send me?
I’m wrestling folks, always on the mat with God. And I hope that’s ok. I hope He knows, I hope He can see the heart that I have. I think it’s ok to question authority (good lord I hope so! I’ve been doing it for the last 33 years and 55 weeks!) and to make sure you know what the path is before you decide to travel it.
The funny thing is, though, in this early morning stream of consciousness to which I am subjecting you, that I am already on the path. I guess I could leave the path, forage through the woods and get burrs stuck in my pant legs and branches poking me in the eyes. But since I’m here I guess I’ll just keep walking. Keep wrestling. Keep turning down that invitation to pearly vistas and halos and harps for as long as I can, and just hope that my host understands my hesitation, and my desire to stay.
That He understands that He made the world so beautiful and so damaged, that I just couldn’t bear to say good bye.