I was sitting this morning in our living room, in a comfortable chair, with a cup of good coffee and one of my bibles, reading about the end times. People will be evil and arrogant. The weak will be oppressed. (This one bothers us more. What we can do we should do.) ‘Sounds like the news, but then again that has been a reoccurring theme throughout history. In college we doubted we would see 40 because Jesus was surely coming again soon. Then I look around the room.
The wood floors were redone professionally. The walls are freshly painted, and pictures are up, reminding us of people and special times in of our life. Our latest acquisition is a large, recently refinished cedar chest draped with an intricate gift from friends in Romania, topped by a candle, a picture of the kids when they were kids, and some books carefully placed in in a casual manner. It looks like a magazine.
Moving into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee, I sit at the redwood burl table that Steph finished and look at the new cabinets and colorful Fiestaware exposed on the open shelves we crafted out of reclaimed wood. Weeks of work in a twelve by twelve room. Finished… mostly… leaving a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,. Someday, somebody will come into that same kitchen and declare everything outdated, worn out, unfit for habitation… just like we did 10 months ago. The chest we found abandoned on the street will go back out to the sidewalk for someone else. It is all temporary.
We have mirrors in our house. We know there are wrinkles where there used to be smooth skin and skin where there used to be hair. My broken and arthritic hands find guitar chords harder to reach if they can reach them at all. Steph watches young women jog by and mourns that her body can’t keep up with her memories. We, or at least these shells that hold our souls, are also temporary. If all we have is this world… that’s pretty grim.
We are convinced that at least two things do last forever, the immortal souls of people and the Word of God. Jesus claimed the second will never pass away so looking at it in a bit of a utilitarian fashion, any time spent there is a good investment. The first is also true but it has consequences… every soul is eternal but the bible speaks sparingly and in metaphors about eternal alternatives. It’s Paradise or a lake of fire, “with the Lord” or “outer darkness”, a garbage dump or a mansion. I don’t know how literal or complete these descriptions are, but one thing is sure, there is a good outcome and a bad one, a good destination and bad one. Jesus promises to take us to the good place and told us to invite others to come with us. And if he doesn’t come and get us soon, well… we’ll join him there, sooner or later.
I don’t feel too guilty about sitting in my comfortable chair reading this morning. I also admit I’m sort of proud of the kitchen we put together. One has to prepare food someplace. ‘Just a reminder of what’s eternal and what’s temporary.