26 April 2011
I dreamed I reached heaven
And I asked about you
And I started to search heaven,
But I didn’t – I didn’t see you.
When I was a little girl, I used to have mixed feelings about this song sung by the incomparable Wright sisters (aka The Blendwrights). I mean, isn’t the promise of heaven that we would be reunited with our loved ones who have gone to sleep in the Lord before us? The song goes on to tell how the singer finds her mother and her father, and how they all search for this missing friend/loved one to no avail. Very sad to a young child who listened to this album (yes, actual vinyl on a turntable ALBUM) every Sabbath morning.
This past weekend, I journeyed with my family back to Oakwood COLLEGE where I matriculated as a freshman student almost 30 years ago. My trip was two fold. My uncle was being honored as Alumnus of the Year, and my freshman class was celebrating the 25th anniversary of their college graduation in 1986. Although I only attended Oakwood for one year, the planning committee very graciously extended the invitation to attend the reunion to all students who attended from 1982-1986, whether they graduated from Oakwood or not. It was a great idea, but for a long time I was resistant to attending because my feeling was this: most of the people from my freshman class that I wanted to be in contact with, I already was in contact with them. Either through Facebook or other means, I was already in touch with whoever I wanted to be in touch with - there was no need to travel to Huntsville, AL to see them. Even when it was announced that my uncle was being honored and I knew I would be in Huntsville for that, I still waffled about attending the reunion festivities.
So, what changed my mind? A BARRAGE, and I do mean, barrage, of invitations from the planning committee to attend. In one week, it seems like I got a hundred (ok, slight exaggeration) emails, Facebook posts, phone calls, smoke signal messages from the planning committee members inviting me to come. When I explained my resistance for coming (mainly, I only attended for one year and wasn’t really a part of the class), I was pooh-poohed, shot down and in one case, I think even threatened that I “betta” come or there would be consequences for not showing up. (ok, another slight exaggeration). It was still with mixed feelings that I planned to attend. In fact, two days before my scheduled departure to Huntsville, I was still waffling about whether I would attend.
And then, on Friday evening, I walked into Oakwood University Church and started seeing my classmates – some of whom I had not seen since I left the Oaks in May 1983, including my (one of) roommates from freshman year. And they remembered me – and I remembered them – and we laughed and hugged and mugged for the cameras. And what a reunion it was! What joy to reconnect with people who shared a mutual experience and survived it to become the strong, beautiful (or handsome), successful Christian men and women God envisioned us becoming 30 years ago. It gave me hope and a glimpse of what heaven will be like – and what our reunion there will be.
But unfortunately, like the song lyrics above, there were some classmates that were not there. Whether because of their lack of desire to be there, other obligations, financial inability, or even sadly, because of death – there were some classmates that no matter who you asked or how many times you asked, they just were not there. And that made me sad as well.
But the song (and this blog) ends on a bright note:
But then, I saw Jesus and I asked about you
And He took me by my hand and He led me through that land
And then I saw you there and I thanked Him, I thanked Him
I found you.
There is a reunion coming that will eclipse the joy, love and fellowship I experienced with my classmates this past weekend. A time is coming when we will see our loved ones who are asleep in the Lord. We will be reunited with people that we have “forgotten” that we want to be reunited with – those ministers that fed into our lives, those neighbors who were more than people who lived in the neighborhood, those friends that we saw every Sabbath in church. We will meet our guardian angels and thank them for their watch care over us (or in my case, apologize for the hazardous assignment!). But most of all, we will see Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer – the One Who died on the cross for us and rose on the first Easter Sunday ever. I pray that we will all make plans now to be at that “Alumni Weekend” and that there will be no ambivalent feelings about it. See you there!
© 2011 Kristina E. Smith
Tuesday, April 26, 2011