Their ages: 94 and 84. They have been friends, Sunday school members, and sisters in the faith for years. And now they were saying goodbye.
I stood aside with my children close and watched as these two dear women embraced. It was a happy day–a going away lunch as one sweet widow packed up her long life to move in with her daughter in another state. Yet, as they bent their white-topped heads together in a final hug, I could feel an urgency here that isn’t necessarily present when younger friends part ways. At their ages, these women seemed to have a sense that they may never see each other again on this side of eternity.
Through tears, the younger of the two smiled: “We’ll meet again in Heaven.” They squeezed each others’ hands knowingly.
Once a week I visit this precious Heaven-dreamer. Eternity feels so near to her that she can spend most of our time together describing to me in detail what it may be like. She devotes hours of her day to dwelling on her eternal future, almost as if she can reach out and touch it.
For her, Heaven is a near reality. It is close, and she is looking forward to experiencing it at last. She lives a full life and serves the Lord in all kinds of ways. But one blessing of old age is her growing connection to the future that she knows is coming. It is the essence of hope, this sure belief in a painless world of sweet reunions and Christ in His full glory. It is what can bring a genuine smile to an aged face. And it is a motivator to run this race well, even through the pains of all kinds, and finish strong. Perhaps there is no greater hope in the Christian faith than the hope of one who recognizes that she is running her final miles toward glory.
The two friends stepped back with smiles and began to gather up their belongings. It was time to go home. I glanced at Chad across the room and saw that his eyes, too, were filled with tears. Goodbyes that are backed by the promise of Heaven are beautiful. Our eyes met for a second and through our tears we smiled a little ruefully. Goodbyes are inevitable. One day even we will part ways, one remaining to finish the race while the other moves into a glorious forever.
The lunch was over. The goodbyes were done. We washed dishes and wiped tables and gathered up our children like one grabs for seashells in the surf. Heaven usually seems like a distant future, but in this moment, standing in the church fellowship hall on an August Sunday, somehow it seemed a little closer. A little clearer. The hope of it. The confidence in whatever God has in store. Maybe this is the beginning of living with true joy, remembering that Heaven is a nearer reality than we think.
This was a sweet read! Thank you.
I loved reading this as 5 weeks ago we moved my almost-97 year old mom to an assisted living apartment, leaving her independent-living apartment of 15 years. She has moved, however, to the apartment across the hall from her ‘best friend’, a woman who is 3 years younger, very mentally sharp, however, her body just won’t move as it should and she is in a motorized wheelchair. We have visited her monthly for lunch ever since her move, about 1 1/2 years ago.
It is such a blessing to have these friendships that the Lord brought together, around my mom’s kitchen table each Monday night, studying the Word, first through video studies that my church supplied and then reading the Word outloud around the table when structured Bible Study was too much for some (6-7 ladies came each Monday) Now 4 of these ladies are in the same assisted living setting & what a joy that is, even though they are at varying degrees of mental/physical capabilities, the Word of God is precious to each one!
Talking about the reality of Heaven is a true gift from God and I am thankful for encouragement in reading this blog, although it made me cry because our friendships are so special and eternal when Jesus is at the center!
Although I’m only in my mid-60s, I could relate to these ladies.
Wow brought beautiful hope and sweet tears to my eyes. I have seen that too in people and friends my mom is 89 and is not ready to leave this earth yet but she had some of her friends pass on and I know that they will meet in heaven and we will know eachother! I wish there was a magazine on elderly who believe and have great faith like this brings us great hope. A lot of us may not be lucky to have a good bye party that was so touching and thinking of inviting whomever I can to my moms 90th birthday party in October 21, 2019 so pray if it’s the Lords will she make it that long…..All of days and time and hours of our last breath hear on earth is our first step in heaven…..heard it from a minister beautiful put! love this ty for sharing
Well this was precious truth! I am 70 with a dear sister 60 and I am forwarding this to her I truly do find eternity’s joys and promises grow sweeter with age as we run our race for His glory and desire as you say to finish well! Thank you for this heartfelt reminder.
Beautifully written article; my oftentimes prayer is “Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly” we Christians have a wonderful life to look forward too!
I want to live the rest of my days, no matter how many or few, as a “Heaven-dreamer”…thanks for this powerful, poignant reminder…description of these 2 sisters parting ways…for now!