Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A place where I belong

Early in Passion Week, Jesus said to his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

Last week we moved Jon, Kristin and kids into their new house. “Helped move” I should say, as many people from their church gave a needed hand.

One of the positive aspects of this move is more space—both outside and inside. And each child has their own room.

A room of one’s own. I remember how important that was to me growing up.

The rooms in the new house seem custom-designed for each child. Paige’s room is a sunny yellow, with a view of trees and flowers. As the only child with normal vision, she appreciates this. Reilly’s room is painted in different shades of blue and looks like the universe. He’s fanatic about space—and this puts him in the middle of outer space. The yard light shines through his window better than any little night light could do. He likes that.

But Peter’s room—that’s the wonder of this house. Apparently it had belonged to a teenage girl with an outgoing personality and a wacky sense of style. Painted in vivid primary colors, one wall is red, one green, one blue and one yellow. The ceiling has glow-in-the-dark stars, with footprints walking between them.

Two-year-old Peter loved it from the first. His bright multicolored rug on the hard-wood floor ties the colors together. He marches around the perimeter of the rug repeating, “Peter room. Peter room. Peter room.” And he loves to go to bed now, enchanted by the starry sky on his ceiling. He lies on his back, cuddles his silky star blanket, and points up, saying, “Star. Star. Star.”

Legally blind, Peter may never be able to behold a real starry sky, but at least for now, he has his own private universe to exclaim over. And a room of his own.

This is Passion Week and I’m reading through the appropriate passages in Scripture. My mind is on death. The culmination of the week is Jesus’ death. But I’m thinking more of the deaths of so many friends recently: Jan Gathright, Jolene Griffith, Mary Hadley. And on my mind more than anything else is my friend Anita and her apparently losing battle with cancer. We’ve been praying and believing for healing for a year-and-a-half now. These days it’s hard to know how to pray. Her husband Don continues to encourage us to pray for healing, but our level of hope is dimming.

So I pray in the Spirit, trusting that the Jesus who walked this same dark path will perfect my prayers.

“I go to prepare a place for you.” What kind of place is Jesus preparing for Anita? Surely it will be a place that’s green and natural…
• With trees, flowers, a singing brook, birds…
• A place of books and ideas and stories…
• A place of delicious food and fellowship…
• A place to share with Don, her kids, little Grace and, I hope, me.

As there is no mortal time in heaven (according to my limited understanding of this mystery), I suppose Anita will not experience separation from us. But we will experience separation from her. And experience it deeply.

Thank you, Jesus, that you prepare places of belonging for all your children. Thank you for Peter’s room. Thank you for the place of beauty and joy I know you’re preparing for Anita even now. And thank you for your promise to never leave or abandon me. To walk beside me now, on this pilgrim path. To bring me, at last, to the place you’re preparing for me.

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