I hope it's fine if my weekend thought is also a shameless plug for one of my most favorite people in the entire world--Steven Curtis Chapman. My mom and I had the cassette tape of "For the Sake of the Call" and "Heaven in the Real World" was one of my very first CDs. I grew up LOVING him. I feel as though his music has done nothing but improve over the years, and his recent albums to me have been inspiring, encouraging, and convicting. He has a faith that is amazing. I think this was most clearly seen in the days and months following the tragedy in his family, and I remember reading interview after interview and speculations from his friends, family, and the music world in general wondering if he'd ever perform and write again.
I had the distinct privilege of seeing him perform a year after that--the absolute best concert experience of my entire life. And now, the man people questioned if he'd ever write again, has released a new single--Heaven is the Face. And I LOVE this song. I think that obviously, the idea of losing a child has become so much more real to me since actually having lost a child through miscarriage, and now as I think every second of the day how much I love Sam. The pain that he has come through astounds me. His new album, releasing November 3, is very appropriately titled "Beauty Will Rise." I love that, because beauty truly has risen from among the ashes of his pain. You should learn about Maria's Big House of Hope, the orphanage opened in Maria's name...just one of the many amazing things that has come out of his tragedy.
But I've been so struck by the lyrics of his newest song. I find that heaven is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp. It is our greatest hope as Christians--eternal fellowship and worship; perfected bodies; perfected earth...but really, what is it? I don't know. I have no idea what it will be like.
Some of the lyrics of his new songs are as follows: Heaven is the face of a little girl/With dark brown eyes that disappear when she smiles/Heaven is the place where she calls my name/Says "Daddy, please come play with me for awhile"/And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more/But God, this is all I'm aching for/God, you know, I can't see beyond the door/So right now, Heaven is a sweet maple syrup kiss/And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone/But in my minds eye, I can see a place/Where your glory fills all the empty space/And the cancer is gone/Every mouth is fed/And there's no one left in the orphan's bed/Every lonely heart finds their one true love/And there's no more goodbye/No more not enough/And there's no more enemy/And God, I know it's so much more than I can dream/It's far beyond anything that I can conceive/So God, you know, I'm trusting you until I see/Heaven in the face of my little girl.
I think this song is so beautiful. And so honest. He KNOWS that heaven is a thousand things. But right now, he cares that heaven is the place where he sees his little girl again. And so yeah, Heaven is the demise of cancer and sickness....and a sweet, messy, syrupy kiss from the daughter he hasn't seen in a year and a half and never got to say goodbye to. Loss gives heaven an entirely new meaning.
So for me--heaven is a blond headed boy named Brandon who will probably want to play some sort of practical joke on me as soon as I see him, and who probably hasn't stopped laughing since he got there. It's a tall boy named Dave who I'm sure is dressed in orange pants and will probably ask me first thing if I watched the movie he gave me that's in all subtitles even though I kept telling him I hate that. (And no, Dave...I still haven't watched it. And I still don't think Edward Scissorhands is a good movie....) It's my grandmother, being able to jump and walk and go crabbing again. And it's a little baby that I don't even know was a boy or a girl--with a personality and a face and a body and who I will finally get to know.
So. What is heaven for you?
(For more Weekend Thoughts, head over to Life At the Circus)