Thirty years ago I saw a college boy leaning out his dorm room window on campus. He was smiling and beautiful. I can die a happy woman with only the memory of that day.
A bleak Midwest winter (is there any other kind?) was finally in the rearview mirror of my junior year and the potent promise of sunshine and freedom was distracting from any serious study endeavors. To be fair, it didn’t take much to woo me from the library back then, but I digress.
Per my routine that semester, I was crisscrossing across campus, carefully coordinating my timing so as to increase the odds of as many “chance” encounters with David as possible while not appearing to be a serial stalker which I definitely was.
Would that I had put even half the energy into my classes that I did into mapping out my day so as to accidentally bump into David. I could have been Magna Cum Laude in nonchalant stalking. Math class or Love? Priorities people!
Anyway, that sunny afternoon was my lucky day. There he was in the first-floor bay-window, standing in the streaming sunlight, laughing with undiluted pleasure. Even now the sight and sound of David laughing is my favorite sound in the world.
He waved me over across the spring-green courtyard, and I don’t recall much of what happened next, because how does anyone think in a straight line when the one is leaning towards you and smiling like that?
Of course, if you’ve ever been so infatuated that you’ve resorted to high-level stalking you remember that you can’t possibly think at all – you just hopelessly and terribly feel.
And so it was with me. I’m not now, nor have I ever been described as a big “feeler’, but the searing imprint of those few moments; that frighteningly beautiful and vulnerable feeling; the memory of that Spring afternoon is in sharper focus than any photograph I’ve ever taken.
This, I believe, is what it will be like when heaven comes to earth: What is most hoped for will truly be. Not only for a terribly beautiful moment but for as many heart-soaring moments as are the stars in the sky and the sands on the shore.
Only God knew what he was cultivating that day at the window in the sun. Only God could have known that two of his children, one of them a serial stalker, would soon become one flesh.
But the days since have not all been sunny. And yet the same Hope remains when the shadows stretch long and the ground grows dry: What is most longed for on earth will one day be. For God will dwell once again with his people.
All will be well on that great day – the hope of Advent – and always. Satisfaction in work and delight in relationships will be standard. Rejection, sorrow, barrenness, frustration, and cruelty won’t even be a memory.
Only God knows what he is cultivating at this moment in the life of his children. But we know He is making something new. He is growing something up, rooted and straight. He is bringing about a harvest of good-tasting fruit to woo those who still hunger to know their truest Love.
And yet He’s guarding the terribly beautiful good that He’s already imprinted on our hearts, minds, and souls. For it’s a permanent taste of the goodness of heaven that is coming soon, and yet is already here, to set things right on earth.
And so you can rest. Rest from your stalking and striving and be assured that all that is terribly good – all that is born from the love of God – is being gathered up and will never be lost.
And no matter the season, whether in plenty or in want, you can put your hope in what’s real: For all that’s been stolen, broken, twisted, or thwarted will be wrapped up and restored into something holy and beautiful – all because of a terribly good and eternal Love.
Shalom to you and yours (and a Happy Birthday to David).