The highways to and from the small town I grew up in were not lit. They were sparingly punctuated by farms, with no other real landmarks on the flat Kansas plains. At night, the drive home from the city seemed infinite, with my eyelids heavy and my body aching for bed. I would ask and ask “when will we be home - how can I know how much longer?” Time did not exist to my five year old brain. But my dad, he gestured toward the only distinguishable mark out the windows “see those tv towers with the red lights Linda? Watch the towers. When they cross each other, it means we’re almost home.”
If you go through my old journals you will find entry after entry saying I’m not “one of those people” - people who color their grey hair, or put cream on their wrinkled face. “I’m not going to be a vain middle aged woman. I will embrace my old-ness!” said teenage me. But I have a smattering of grey hair now, and there are tiny lines between my eyebrows that don’t go away even when I’ve finished concentrating. The first time I saw those lines I learned something. It’s not vanity that buys the cream - it’s fear - and I was afraid. I was afraid because those lines tell me that I’m not in control. Written between those lines are every bad thing that could ever happen to me. They show me every day that I have lack; that control is a farce and that time is our curse, our chains, our enemy.
“What about the hope of heaven?” says the inescapable baptist woman that lives in my head. But I say “Screw heaven!” They say you’ll be reunited with loved ones, there will be new colors new tastes! There will be GOD! But how do I KNOW?! How do I know that these people I love wont be vapors? How can I know what this God who whispers to me is really like? How can I prep for the biggest culture shock of my life? One day my feet rest on this cheap brown carpet, and a moment later are flying through a sky that the smartest brains and deepest hearts have only guessed about? No thanks. You’re there then you’re not! No transition time. No planning the trip. I don’t even know if I’ll like it! So do not rip me from the arms of my lover. Do not take my love and my kisses from my children. Do not leave me... alone. Nothing to cling to. Alone with the wonders and monsters and huge, infinite God.
But maybe I remember. Barely. Maybe that infinitesimal bit of me that is my soul remembers God. Remembers what it’s like - the details of eternity. Maybe it remembers and it aches. Aches for all those things our great minds and deep hearts only guess at. Maybe it remembers what it’s like to never feel alone, or scared, or sad. Maybe it remembers what it’s like to never have to LEAVE someone. And maybe it rejoices at these faint lines starting on my face because wrinkles are the crossing towers, and it means we’re almost home.