Morning Train

CC BY-NC, Home for Good, Flickr
The Shinkansen of Japan
CC BY-NC, Home for Good, Flickr

The number of friends and co-workers that came to see me off that morning overwhelmed me. I never figured I mattered as much. The occasion effervesced with cheer, but it was also awkward. Nobody wished to see the elephant in the room. A year of good memories collected in this final moment slowly infecting with sadness.

When the time came to move to the platform, the sadness became palpable. Some could hold their tears no longer, and I was pressed to see everyone to say goodbye. Then, the train, a bullet train, arrived, as much an interruption to its own arrival. The guys helped me load my bags.

I took my seat and gazed at my friends, refusing to take my eyes off of them. There was no guarantee that I’d ever see them again. The women wept sorely. I mouthed words and made faces, fighting my own tears. I loved these people and never had an earlier time done more to convince me of this than this moment.

I ached at their grief and finally turned my face and wept. After several minutes, the departure bell sounded and, in seconds that would wait no longer, I was whisked away to be all but standing at my destination.

Isn’t this what death is, the unbearable parting with one love for the long awaited greeting of another?

I always remember this overseas farewell scene when I ponder death. My questions about the life to come are settled, and I have no fear of death or dying, as I did when I was young. I do wonder how my end will occur. I imagine the moment to be like the shock of an off-guard punch leaving me to heave celestial winds that renew my every fiber with the life of God.

Who will be the angel that greets me? Is my journey direct? Who will be in my greeting party? How long until I stand before God? And will Christ embrace me and, in that glorious moment, make me everlastingly holy? Just some of my endless questions…

Death is often my pillow thought, but I get excited when I consider it. There is no hopeless sadness about it, and neither do I have a morbid fascination or longing to die. Instead, I will live heartily and joyfully until it is my turn to wonder no more.

5 thoughts on “Morning Train

  1. After my mom moved to heaven, I became very interested in the place. Taking up the invitation from Corinthians (more than eye has seen…), I began to let my imagination run wild. What WILL I be doing a million years from today, for I will be doing something – and it’s going to be amazing!

    I also began to decline purchases that would make my earthly “motel room” nicer, choosing to invest in Kingdom expansion instead…then asked if the Lord would be so kind as to put the desired items in my heavenly home. Wait til you see what Jesus & I have done with the place! Moss carpets, vine walls, beautifully carved stone fish on the hearth, NO WINDOWS to ever wash again!

    And musical instruments? Oh, man, I can’t wait to see what He has for us in that regard. If the rocks would have cried out, and trees raise their hands in praise, I’m banking on a musical garden to play new songs from my heart to the Lord…along with all my “buds”: Beethoven, Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, Rich Mullins, my heavy metal friend, and whoever else will join us. What a jam session that will be!

    Don’t get me started on heaven. I can go on for hours. It inspires me to want to make sure everyone I know (and have yet to meet) are going to be there as well.

    Mmmm-mmm. Great way to begin the day. Thanks!

    Praising Jesus who wants us to be heavenly minded!

    • Somewhere before now I encountered your excitement about Heaven, and I love it. People get so somber about death and the afterlife–Christians–but there’s a reason why all of it’s called our Blessed Hope. I cannot wait to see God, and I tell him so. You just excited me talking about all the things you expect there; I do that, too! When I was young, I feared death; but that’s over. I want to be near the Lord. I am ready to be done with sin. I want to see what humanity is supposed to be like. I want to be in a perfect world. O, Happy Day indeed! Bless you!

      Have you read “Heaven Is For Real” or “Heaven” (Alcorn)? Do you know of DGS Dhinakaran and his astonishing accounts of Heaven (YouTube)?

      • I’ve read both of those books, and listened to Steve Berger’s teachings on the subject (Pastor at Grace Chapel, Lieper’s Fort, TN) – as well as his book, Have Heart.

        I haven’t seen the YouTube video, but had a couple of special encounters. One was driving home late at night when the elk were out. I was afraid of hitting one. In my mind, I saw my car hit one, I was instantly propelled through the ceiling of earth, the floor of heaven, and straight into Jesus’ arms – He was laughing joyfully. “Here, elk! Here, elk!”

        Another time I was driving and a black butterfly swooped in front of my car. The instant I imagined it hit my grill, I saw it pushed through a gossamer-thin veil and become the most beautiful color of iridescent blue I’d ever seen. It only lasted a moment, but Oh! the beauty. Mmm. Makes me homesick just thinking about it. 🙂

  2. Mike, it sounds like you have the same struggle as Paul when he wrote :

    I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! (Philippians 1:20-22)

    I’m sure the question will resolve itself eventually 🙂 but until then, keep bloggin’ !

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