Eight years ago, JB left us. I still miss my nephew, my friend, my kindred spirit. And more than a few times in the intervening years, I've heard "won't it be good to see him again someday?" more often than I care to count. Yes, it's true. Yes, it's well meant. But selfish me wants him here, now - not there, later.
But it's true. I hold on to that hope. So I got the picture of getting to heaven and seeing Jesus, and seeing JB. And I will confess the latter had me more excited.
Enter a little good old-fashioned Sunday School type guilt. Shouldn't I be looking forward to seeing Jesus more? I mean, He is my Saviour, He died for me and makes this future reunion possible. It's Jesus I want to be more like: loving those society deems unlovable, caring for people - really caring - like He did, bypassing hypocrisy and religion for real, true life that makes a difference. The "correct" answer is, it's Him I should be looking forward to more.
Then I remembered something. My parents were coming to visit one time. And our daughter R, about 4 or 5 years old, was bubbling with excitement to see them. The window was covered with hand (and nose) prints as she strained for the sight of them. "When, Momma, when?" I was excited too, of course, but kept my excitement below her frenetic level as we watched and waited.
There! The car pulled in at the end of their long journey. My little one's bouncing echoed that of my own heart as she ran and threw open the door. We both went out and I smiled as she ran ahead, chatting and laughing as she hugged and was embraced in turn.
I stood back, myself so happy to see them, but rejoicing in the love of my daughter for her grandparents and they for her. I paused to capture the vignette in my mind as I moved forward for my own hug. I'm so glad you're here, we said, with a strong hug that was no less full of love for my daughter's usurping of that first contact.
It is that happy union that I look forward to. And someday, when I arrive home at the end of my own long journey and the door is flung open, I look forward to both hugs. R is a lot like her cousin JB, after all. Maybe, like her, he'll run ahead for that first hug. The first of many.