On December 1, 2012 there was a race in Bonham, Texas. It was a 5K and it was called the "Hold Fast" 5K. It was held on a beautiful, winter morning. While in training I used to always do my long runs on Saturday mornings. I remember many a Saturday morning, sitting in the truck with the heat on, waiting for just enough light to get on the road. This race was held in my honor and I was in a hotel room. I had been released from the hospital only two days before with the instructions to stay close in my sanitized hotel room (Thank you, Chris!) to make the short half mile trip to the hospital each day for shots, blood-work, and fluids.
In the book of Revelation, we learn that the disciple John had been banned to the island of Patmos. It was a volcanic island that was used by the Romans to leave prisoners. An island, surrounded by water. Many scholars think that the torture of the island was that the mainland was sometimes in sight.
Race Day! How many memories! I asked the medical team on that Friday, could I go to Bonham with Chris and sit in the car during the race? NO! I began to get text messages and e-mails from family, church members, players I had coached, faculty members, and friends that they would be at the race. I lay in our bed on Friday night thinking of how I always wanted Elizabeth to meet my mom, Bro. Rex to meet Heather, Steve to meet Roger, to see Kathy with Michelle, Lance Shelton to meet.................no, I didn't want Lance to meet anyone! Many of these friends and students I had encouraged to begin running. I sat and wondered..............was it raining, did anyone show up, ........please Chris, let's drive to Bonham! I love my wife so much. We normally enjoy every moment together, but that Saturday was strange. A trip to the hospital, shots in the stomach, blood work, IV bag to replace potassium. Back to the hotel where Chris' parents, her sister Michelle & children, Tim & Callie would be arriving that evening. I would stay awake and hear about every minute of the race, supper, and auction. But night time meds at 7:30 and I was out. Chris stayed awake to meet family. And I had a dream....................
There are a lot of books about heaven. Paul describes how he received a glance of heaven. On Saturday night, December 1, 2012, I saw a glimpse of heaven.
My family lived in Stringtown, Oklahoma while I was in 5th - 9th grades. My dad was the pastor of the Baptist church and we lived in the parsonage, which was one block away from the school. Most evenings I was at the school yard which had an outside basketball court. We would play basketball until the whistle. What was the whistle? My mom could whistle so loud (she still can!), a piercing shriek, somehow produced by this small woman of 5'2". Everyone would announce, "Kevin, better go, it's your mom." The whistle meant supper was ready and time to come home.
In my dream, we were playing basketball. It was cold, but we were having a great game. Then there was a whistle. Not now! The game was close, but all of my friends began to tell me, "It's your Mom, better go." I grabbed my jacket and told the other players I would try to come back. Maybe Mom would let me finish the game. I ran to my house, where my Mom was waiting at the door, smiling.
I have tried to share this dream several times, I always begin to sob. It was so real!
My mom put her arm around me and said how much fun supper would be. I begged her to let me go finish my game. She looked at me and said, " I wish you would stay with us, but finish your game, but you will regret it." The door closed and I started to run back to the school yard but I stopped. Our house was filled with people. Now understand, my mom is very much alive. I walked to the window and looked through the glass. My grandfather, Pa-Pa, was there. My mom & dad and all of the my siblings. My father-in-law, Danny was standing with his arm on his father, whom I never met. Friends, family.............everyone eating and laughing. A strange mixture of people, but I wanted to be in the house. I began to beat on the window, but no one could hear me. I went to the door and began to knock, but no one answered. Chris said she was awakened to me sobbing and screaming, "I don't want to play, I want in, please, let me in." Sleep escaped me the rest of the night. I sat with family in the hotel lobby wearing a mask and listened to stories about the race. My daughter, Callie, sat in my lap and showed me the many photos she took of the race. I tried to tell about my dream, but I just cried.
In Revelation chapter 21, John is describing a glimpse of heaven. He says,
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away. Also there was no more sea.".................."And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
So what does this mean? The Old Testament is filled with descriptions of family and feasts. We were created for these celebrations. I have learned that separation can be a cruel punishment. With my job I live for those solitary moments, but when SOLITARY is required, it is tough. For John the greatest part of his dream of heaven is "no more sea." The barriers are gone and he is reunited.
I do not profess to have any insights of heaven. From the Bible it is hard to know what is figurative or literal. But I have no doubt that I will not be worried about how things look. There will be no death, pain, or tears.....................and there will be no more sea.
Oh yeah, thanks for running!