I’ve had several unexpected and random conversations lately around the topics of death, dying and heaven. One began with my little granddaughter asking, “Do you have a mom?” I’m not sure where she thought I came from; I did confirm I had a mother and informed her that my mother was in heaven. This four-year-old proceeded to tell me she didn’t want to go to heaven because she would be dead and her eyes would be shut all the time. She was pleased to hear me share the good news. We are going to be alive in heaven and we will see all the people that are already there, like my mom. (She later told her mom, “Grammy told me we’re alive when we go to heaven,” setting the record straight.)
In a second conversation, experiencing the death of someone we love entered the discussion and we agreed among the most painful experiences in life. Separation doesn’t fit with how we’re made. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, where it is said that God “set eternity in the human heart,” touches on aspirations that go beyond this life and the material world.
These dialogues gave me, again, a sharp awareness of the value of relationships— meaningful and fulfilling in the hear-and-now, but of eternal significance. This past weekend I was blessed to spend a few days with my daughters on the New England coast. We were able to fully relax—especially needed for these moms with busy schedules and unending responsibilities. We ate great food, laughed a lot, played games, and talked about life. In a strange way, there was a sense of newness for me. My mom was gone before I was married or had children and I also never knew my grandparents. Subsequently, enjoying grandchildren and watching my girls be moms are extraordinary blessings for me.
Someday I’ll meet my grandmother and my mother will meet my children, and then their children, and so on. Our relational investments are worth every ounce of effort in the here and now, but how glorious that what awaits us on the other side is eternity—no more separation, the missing of those we love with our whole hearts. Can you imagine?