Saturday, November 29, 2008

a case of the heaven-bends

time: late Thanksgiving Night
place: the living room couch
characters: me, all alone, after everyone else was in bed
action: none. just thinking.

I was not being a couch-potato the other night. I could warm up to being labeled a couch-pumpkin, though. I submit that the humble pumpkin is a more reflective, ruminative vegetable than the potato. Pumpkins have guts. They are pithy. They hunker, which gives them an introspective appearance. They harbor seeds which, when properly seasoned and baked, make a great snack.

That last point did nothing to further my case, but I threw it in there because I am partial to roasted pepitas.

Back to my story. I was stretched out on the "nice" couch; the one near the piano. The downstairs was dark, except for a few guttering candles on the lace-covered coffee table. Guests were slumbering quietly in the guest room, in the family room, and upstairs. Dinner, card games, the annual trimming of the canned goods, piano duets with my mom, happy good-nights were behind us, and another lovely Thanksgiving celebration was deposited into my memory bank.

But here I was, with nothing to complain about and nothing but gratitude on my lips, aching for heaven with a homesickness that leaned towards groaning.

I was battling a severe case of the "heaven-bends".

There is a condition called "the bends" that scuba divers experience when they venture too far into the depths of the sea. Our bodies are not built for the weight of those depths, and the physical strain leads to a sickness that starts with a dull ache and can escalate into serious symptoms.

The "heaven-bends" come upon me when I swoop too far heavenward. Thoughts of no more tears, no more sin, no more sickness or death leave me weak with desire to just be there already.
I'm not talking about tampering with my own personal time-line, though. I have things to accomplish on this side of heaven, certainly! It's just that sometimes--sometimes-- I want to be there very, very much.

The home God has prepared for us is so far beyond our feeble imagination that we only glimpse it occasionally. When we catch a tiny taste, a passing delectable smell of something exceedingly delicious, a flitting and swiftly disappearing twinkle of its glory and promise....we are left wanting, yearning, hungering. Almost sick with desire.

Often the heaven-bends come upon me for no discernible reason. But I know what brought on this latest bout. Earlier that evening, my mom and I played a piano duet called, "Shall we Gather at the River." It is an old Christian hymn that gets me every time.

I am feeling better now, thank you. The heaven-bends can knock the stuffing out of you (no Thanksgiving Dinner pun intended), but all in all, they leave a body rested and more fit than ever to go about the Father's business.


Blogger eyestotheeast said...

amazing post

thanks for the thoughts

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Friend #37 said...

I was missing neither Thanksgiving nor Heaven until I read your post. Thanks.

A man who was born with no limbs recently spoke at the business school here at this top university in China. He spoke with passion and had a joy that made everyone envious.

One after another, the students inquired about his strength, his inspiration, his joy and one by one, he pointed to the only thing he had: Jesus. For two hours, I watched him drink Living Water in a room filled with dehydrated souls.

How often I'm trying to get the last drops out of this earthly cup, when I've got an ocean in my heart.

12:30 PM  

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