It’s been a difficult week for our little community. Many of us are connected by blood relations and others are connected by church or school. We know the families if not the people themselves who were involved in wrecks over this past week. There were so many precious souls gone from earth too soon.
Even as I wrote that phrase, I have to reassess it: “gone from earth.” It’s true they are no longer walking among us. Their deaths are leaving huge holes in our lives. As I’ve thought about these lives and all who they touched, I know enough about them to realize that gone isn’t the right mindset. Although they are missing from earth, they’ve really arrived.
This week I remembered when my children were little, the usual mantra on a car trip was, “Are we there yet?” I know it’s a universal question from the ones in the back seat! Michael and I decided early on the answer would be “do you see ___________(our destination)? If not, we haven’t arrived!” The other classic whine of “when will we get there?” was answered with “we’ll get there when we get there!” Every trip punctuated with these questions until our kids understood.
Our dear friends and loved ones who completed their journeys this week have arrived. Although their time on this earth with us ended much sooner than we would have liked, I certainly am happy they’ve already made it home. Figuratively, they have no more missed trains, lost luggage, stalled traffic, flat tires, or any of the other things that make travel difficult.
They are There. Whatever word is used to describe the next life – paradise, heaven, pearly gates – none mean more to me than the idea of Home. Our beloved ones who left early this week are not lost; they are in their forever Home with a capital “H.” They’ve gone Home with God the Father. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
Although we mourn, we wouldn’t wish them back here with us. The days and weeks ahead will be filled with grief and questions and longing, but those are the things for those of us still on our journey. We are still living the “old order of things” as John wrote about in Revelation 21:4:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (NIV)
They have arrived, and I know God was there to wipe every tear from their eyes and welcome them Home.