The day before yesterday, I came home from work to find an email message from my cousin whom I have always dearly loved but hardly ever saw because she grew up in Southern CA, and I grew up in ... the dream destination for all real soybean enthusiasts.
Anyway, she has a sister, whom I also loved from the minute I met when I was a little girl. They were beautiful teenaged role models on both the inside and outside, everything a little girl cousin could admire and even idolize,
possessing a love for Jesus and yes, California tans showcased by the infamous "hotpants" of the 70s. In my eyes, they were perfect. In my eyes, they still are.
Of course there was no email or texting back then, and my parents felt that long distance calls were as reasonable as caviar in a Donny Osmond lunch box, so "real time" contact was rare. Years went by when we did not see each other, but they read my immature letters and faithfully wrote back.
They made me feel loved.
Back to my message. So she says, "I'm in Chicago. Sister is here with me, and we'd like to come see you tomorrow." [No, they don't really talk like the Arsenic and Old Lace ladies who called each other "Sister," I'm just protecting their identities.] This cousin works for an airline and spends part of her life in Chicago, part of her life in another state out west. "Sister" still lives in CA.
Now, in other posts, I've mentioned that a visitor ringing our doorbell launches my nervous dog into outer space in a frenzied barking spasm. Likewise does the thought of someone spontaneously visiting me, especially overnight, affect me. "Spontaneous Company" is to "nerves" as "Pavlov's Bell" is to "Salivation"--a "conditioned response," I believe is the term. So that night, I worked like a dog to make my house as presentable as possible. It was OK, but surely they would see all of the knicked woodwork, the undecorated walls, the chipped dishes, the cheap stuff I've accumulated ... you can see where my mind was despite my efforts.
The next afternoon, two of the most beloved people in the world were sitting in my family room, actually close enough to touch, close enough to see every line, eyelash, and fingernail, filling up the air with their bubbly voices and infectious laughter. What a reunion.
My parents, 85 and 82, came to see their nieces. Tears flowed. I choked up. It was precious.
Since you are, unlike me, rational, you already know that the state of my house meant nothing the entire time they were here (a mere 24 hours due to work schedules). The only thing that mattered was being together. And what a blessing when the spirit of Christ bonds you together beyond bloodlines.
It's not a new observation, but it's one that I forget in spite of its significance: "Stuff" does not matter. Relationships matter. Someday, those who live in Christ will have no physical boundaries, like miles, to keep them apart. There will be no flight schedules to keep, no calendars or clocks to observe. Once again, there will be no texting, emailing, writing or calling. My cousins will be reunited with their parents in heaven. My mother will be reunited with her sister, the girls' mother. And there will be only tears of joy and thanks because omnipotent, limitless Jesus took on the constraints of earth and death so that we could be together forever in Him and with Him. It will be a great reunion.
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.
When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!
While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav’ling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.
Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.
Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.
Eliza Hewitt, 1898