The day my son died, I bought a new pull-out couch.
That morning, while he was running around a lacrosse field in 90-degree heat, I was breezing through air-conditioned furniture stores trying to find the most comfy, best looking, Goldilocks-just-right pull-out couch for him to sleep in the house I was about to buy.
He was already an itinerant in this world, but I didn’t know it yet.
Moving from a spacious four-bedroom, three-bath to a four-room tiny had its challenges, and one of them was finding a place for all of my kids to sleep. The two youngest would have extra-long twin beds crammed into one small room, the young marrieds were content to sleep on camping mats wherever they landed, but because Gordie was planning on living most of the time in his first real off-campus apartment, he would be assigned the sofa bed.
So while my son made the fatal decision to get behind the wheel of his car and start driving home – HOME I tell you – I was driving home from a showroom full of fluffy comfort, happy I had found the perfect place for my son to sleep when he came – well, home.
Before HE was about to die, before HE was about to return home, Jesus comforted His disciples with these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
The place where He is going?
Those disciples had a lot of questions, as so, of course, do we.
What does this house look like, Jesus? Will we live in it, like we do here, in our families, or does heaven negate the need for such distinctions, since we are all your family, the body of Christ? Is it a real, brick-and-mortar house with bathrooms and such? Can you make sure Gordie has a bed?
There’s been so much new in my life lately.
I find it interesting that when you buy or sell your house – both of which I did a few weeks back – they call it a closing. It’s the perfect word to describe what transpires when you box up your life, walk the empty rooms of your old house with a heart heft with memory, and say good-bye to the former things.
The door jamb with the pencil record of your children’s growth.
The trees you loved to watch cycle from green to red to bare and back again.
The few steps it took to see your best friend’s face.
The spot out front where your lawn mower stood for days, keeping silent vigil, abandoned there after the police showed up at your door.
My new street address is #88. I find it interesting that the number 8, Biblically speaking, represents Resurrection. Regeneration. New Beginnings.
And 88 – double 8 – is said to symbolize Immanuel, Godwithus.
In all this new, I want to train my eyes on the Timeless One.
The One who told His disciples to “take up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24), and maybe I’m slow, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus told His disciples this before He went to the cross Himself.
He is never going to lead us where He has not already gone.
Sometimes it’s shiny, and sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes it feels as though you are blundering through tunnel darkness that never seems to end. But I’m beginning to understand that through it all, adventure awaits when you squeeze the hand of your Savior and stop kicking and screaming long enough to just hold tight and follow.
When I’m sold into God, into oneness with Him, I listen – and can hear His voice.
I obey – and the power of sin is destroyed.
I weep – and He comforts me.
I pray – and He answers, in the subtle wind of my soul, like the touch of a feather, gentle and quiet and perfectly right.
Go there. Call her. Say those words. Run. Walk. Wait. Be still.
Sometimes, I stand on my deck and look at the moon, that faithful witness in the sky, and it feels like I’m camping. Temporary. Itinerant.
I pull my son close and breathe him in and wait for a sign.
Where are we going, Papa-God? What will You do next? Is it safe?
Jesus’s words come echoing back.
Do not let your heart be troubled.
I am coming back.
There’s a place prepared.