I got the text message about a month ago: “Kris, I’m going to be flying through Atlanta and wondered if we could meet for breakfast?” My immediate response: Of course! I am all about reunions and hanging out with friends and I had not seen this particular friend since we graduated from high school, a looooong time ago. (We’re talking EARLY 1980’s!). I got the date, thought I put it on my calendar and then promptly forgot about it…until this past Thursday, when I got another text: “I’ll be there on Saturday. Are we still on for breakfast?” Imagine my chagrin when I had to reply, “Is that THIS weekend?” Luckily for me, I hadn’t booked up my Sabbath and was able to further respond, “I am still available, cannot wait to see you.”
Last night, the night before the reunion, just like a little kid anticipating a trip to Walt Disney or the beach, I couldn’t sleep and set my alarm, just to make sure I wouldn’t oversleep, was up checking the clock through the night – and of course, fell into deep sleep right before it went off. At 6:00 a.m., when it did go off, I was reaching for the snooze button going, “Are you kidding me?! The sun ain’t even up yet – is this person really worth it? I need my sleep.” And then, I got another text: “Boarding my plane in Savannah, I should land around 7:30 a.m.” My verbose response was “Okey dokey”, before I groaned, threw myself out of bed and into the shower. And because I was not prepared, I was faced with the traumatic decision of “what do you wear to a 29 year reunion with the boy you had a crush on in 9th grade”? I mean, the outfit has to be “perfect”, right? Yeah, maybe in another life. I went for comfortable and hoped that would be enough.
Got in the car, yawning and stretching, and watching the clock, hoping that when I got the anticipated text, “I’m at baggage claim, where the heck are you?”, I would at least be able to say, “I’m parking the car”. God, in infinite His love and mercy for me, delayed the arrival time enough that I was able to get there, park the car, and be waiting in the arrival lounge when the call came saying, “I’m boarding the train [yeah, the Atlanta airport is THAT big!], and I’ll see you shortly.”
What happened next was a great reunion between me and my friend, Alex, who (as I said before), I haven’t seen since we graduated from high school. Since then, he has served 20 years (and 2 days) in the Army, gone to medical school, married the lovely Terry, had 3 kids, and like me, lives with his mother in a multi-generational home. We had a LOT to talk about, and a very limited time in which to do it. In a way, it was like we picked up right where we left off. There was none of that “I haven’t seen you in decades” awkwardness – just two old friends reuniting. It was great and I sincerely hope that it is not another 29 years before we see each other again.
As I was driving home, I thought about another reunion that is soon to take place. I imagine my Heavenly Father preparing for His return to the earth. He’s sending us “text messages”, letting us know that His arrival is imminent. And I am sure that we are responding, “oh yeah Lord, I cannot wait to see you. I’m putting you on my calendar” – and then walking away to do our own thing, forgetting to even “pencil Him in”. So, He sends another message and again, we’re like, “Yep, cannot wait to see you”, but living our lives in ways that tell Him we really ain’t ready.
I wonder if Jesus is in heaven unable to sleep because He knows that His reunion with His children is soon at hand. I wonder if He is wondering which robe of glory is the one He should put on for the trip back to Earth. I wonder if He has a nervous stomach in anticipation of the reception He will receive when He returns. Does He wonder if we will recognize Him immediately or be scanning the crowds going, “I think that’s Him…wait, I don’t know.”? Will His children be ready to greet Him, or will some of us be out in the parking deck of our lives, parking our cars and praying for His “flight” to be a little delayed?
I don’t know. What I do know is this: Jesus is preparing for His return. He is sending messages to us every day – through His Word, the Bible – and through nature – that He is coming back and we need to be ready. (Notice, I said “be”, not “get”). We, (and I truly mean “I”), need to stop playing games and recognize that missing out on this reunion is NOT an option. I want to be ready, sitting in the arrivals lounge, anxious and ready to return home with Him when He comes, don’t you?
© 2011 Kristina E. Smith
Sabbath, July 9, 2011