A song on my mind when I wrote this was "Heaven is the Face" by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Last Saturday (in the middle of our busy weekend with company), we also attended a celebration of Alexander's life. Maybe you remember me writing a bit about a little boy - almost Abigail's age - whom we got to know at the Flames House. Dave and I were only able to attend the balloon release in the afternoon. (Dave and I took Rachel with us and left the other kids with my parents.) We were some of the last people there to pick up our balloons - there were several left so I took one for me and one for Rachel. We had arrived a bit late and we were at odds with each other - we were stressed about Rachel, and other things - and at the same time feeling the heartache of our new friends who have said good-bye to their little boy. So many thoughts spinning through our heads - and as we stood waiting together with everyone, Dave told me that we were at the same funeral home where our friend, Irene Plett's viewing was held and it was also the same funeral home we will be using for Rachel. Her casket was stored in the building - we had ordered it from the states just before she was born. (There is a story behind the casket that I may tell someday - I think it is an interesting one.) But all these things hit me like a brick. And when it came time to release those balloons, it felt like I had to literally pry my hands open to let go. It felt like I was letting Rachel go up into the sky. And it seemed like those balloons were drifting away too fast....I would like to say that I had this feeling of peace as I watched those balloons but it didn't really come then. I believe that Alexander is in heaven. And it is more beautiful than we can imagine. But it seemed so far away at that moment. I told God that I was going to trust him even if it didn't feel right, even if I can't see into heaven now. I asked him to give us strength to let her go when the time comes - because right now I don't see how I can do it. And I wept for those of us that will and are feeling the pain of separation from those we love.
Already in these 5 1/2 months, my desire for my daughter is so strong. And when I think of heaven, I long to see Rachel! I imagine her as strong and healthy and I long to know her in a deeper way than I do now. And I don't want to admit this to you but if I am very honest I would say that sometimes I long far more to see her, than I do to see Jesus. And I wonder what that says about my love for God. I read something a little while ago that talked about this. The author wrote that "these desires are what God uses to awaken us to himself. When someone we love is there, heaven becomes more real and our longing more vivid. It is a sacred longing. If we follow where this longing takes us, we discover that every human love is only a taste of the love and intimacy God wants to share with us. Our longings are...gifts from God (gifts? it feels like pain! but yes, it is a gift because)... they send us on a search for a love that will never leave us or disappoint us." Nancy Guthrie (p163)
"okay"...I say to God (with trembling) "Use my longings, use the pain, to awaken me to You.