Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Now And The Not Yet

It struck me driving up to Kohl's Department Store yesterday. It was Saturday at 2 pm and there was a really light snow falling. I pulled up behind the store - back by the dumpsters - and saw... And people parking their cars and hustling in. I guess it was the contrarian in me that drove around to the front to see if there was any spaces, and there weren't. At all. Between the snow that has fallen and this, the last Saturday before Christmas, the lot was full.

And inside the store was full. I found some 80% off gifts, but when I saw the line for checking out, I just put my stuff down and left.

And that's in West Bend, which, by last count, is suffering from an almost-historic high unemployment rate of 12 percent.

It was the end of a week where we've been putting together a video for the Dohmen Foundation. Watching the footage from Sudan and Haiti - of the abject poverty, of the huge eyes of children who have seen more than any of us would want them to see - absolutely broke my heart. Goodhearted people like the BloodWater Mission, Dohmen Foundation, IMA World Health, MAP International, Vitamin Angels, are trying their hardest to fight a tide of poverty and sickness and pain.

And as I pulled into the parking lot, I was in tears. Not about the five year old Haitian girl infested with intestinal worms, and not because I had to wait in line with others suffering under this economy. But because perhaps the most vibrant life force I've known, the best athlete I've ever seen, the most demanding and exceptional artist, easily the finest worker in the God's field could no longer lift his cup to his mouth. My Dad was being placed under hospice care.

If anyone can describe to me a circumstance as terrible as watching someone who prided himself on the food he consumed, who worked out with fervor reserved for the elite, to be decimated by this world....keep it to yourself. I've had enough of this place.

This morning has me running low on hope, low on peace. Low on faithfulness.

The problem is I'm so mired in this world as if it's anything but a torn and broken place. And I've spent no time thinking about Heaven. And yet, that's where I'm supposed to be focused. And Dad spent His whole life trying to get me and everyone else to focus our gaze there.

The missing solace for me is Heaven. It's a lesson I should have learned looking at that footage this week. Kids living in squalor, undernourished. Living in huts with no clean water...and yet, singing, beautifully, loudly, dancing for their Savior. A gathering of village people holding hands in a circle praying " Jesus' name." What possible reason did these children and adults have to believe? To sing? To have joy or hope? They were not receiving joy from their surroundings or current condition.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." - Colossians 3:1-2

Heaven. When I hug him there, I won't be afraid I'll break him. Where he'll be back to singing loudly, whistling. Heaven, where the artist meets the Artist. Heaven to tell stories of grace, and they'll laugh, and he'll laugh telling them. Heaven, where he'll see the thousands whose lives were changed by God's work through him. Heaven, where he'll experience completion beyond any moment he's had here.

I know what I want. But what I want, I have, and will have again. Just not today.


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