So I saw the greatest thing at the airport the other morning and I have not been able to shake it.
It was 6:00 am and I was miserably waiting for the plane to board. The terminal was extra crowded because of the holidays, people were rushing around and there were way too many morning people in the mix. It is 6:00 am on Sunday people. You should not be perky, smiling, Starbucks induced, and chatty...we should all be in bed, and if not in bed, bitter and scroogey over the fact that we are up and functioning. Nevertheless, the airport was bustling with lots of happy morning people scuffling around.
In the midst of all of this I look up to see an old lady walking towards me. She might be in her very late 70's, but the mid 80's is probably more accurate, it's hard to tell with old people. She has big glasses on, the kind with 12 different lenses, long silvery hair with a headband perfectly in place, a light blue cardigan on and an old cotton skirt almost dragging the ground. Her husband, who looked even older, completely bewildered, and if possible seemed to be less of a morning person than me, followed behind her.
She walked behind a walker while holding on tightly and keeping her purse tucked away under her arm. Each step was a process. It took effort, required energy, you could see it on her face, she was fighting to walk. It looked painful. Each step was slow, deliberate, thought out. She must have been walking towards me for 20 minutes. Like watching a tortoise slowly inch along the ground. But she clung to her walker, head up, smile on her face, and kept on moving. On the front of her walker hung a sign, yes, an actual sign that I assume she had written with a black marker. It was in a plastic sleeve, with two holes punched through the top and yarn tying it to the walker, and it said...
Only temporary. I laughed out loud. It reminded me of my Nanny and it made me smile. My husbands Nanny would've done the same thing. She passed away two years ago and I miss her strength and humor and her smile and sarcasm. Nanny worked until the week she passed away at 87 years old. When she got sick they told her she would have to be on oxygen... and she did not want any part of that. She finally gave in when it hurt to breath, but she would have hung a sign that said "Only Temporary," on her too, because she believed it. She loved life, she infused life into the people around her, and on so many levels she would have said, and believed...only temporary.
I am not sure what this woman meant by her sign. I assume she was a firecracker like me and Nanny are. That she was frustrated at her situation, but instead of cowering down to life and illness she fought it with humor and defiance...hey world...this is only temporary, I will walk again without this stupid walker. Hey world, this is temporary, I will not always use this silly oxygen mask, I will be better soon. Perhaps that is what she meant. A playful, defiant, strong approach to her very real weakness. It was a beautiful message.
But I wondered all day if she believed in God. If she believed in Heaven. If she believed that her condition was only temporary on a different level. That she knew her body would not always be weak. That her spirit would not always be failing. I wonder if she believed this place was not her home...it was just temporary.
Cancer? temporary. Brain tumors? temporary. Divorce? temporary. Death. Tragedy. Pain. Heartbreak. Worlds falling apart. Rebellious kids. Infertility. Family splits. Church Splits. Disasters. Bad parents. Disease. Emergencies. Frailty. Brokenness. Walkers. Oxygen masks...only temporary.
The world hurts. Life hurts, sometimes more than we can bear. Does the thought of God and heaven and Jesus always make that better...no. Not for me. It cannot magically mend my pain or suffering, it cannot bring people back to life, it cannot eliminate suffering and pain...but it can give me hope. And it does. My Jesus has been here. He has walked this earth. He has known pain. He has known anguish. He has seen the broken. Touched them. Restored them. And he has spoken of a world, His fathers house, where there will be no more suffering. There is a place where all hurts and all tears cease to exist. Where our souls and spirits sing with rapture as we are captured and engulfed by God's beauty. A place where many many rooms are being prepared for us and the angels, the majestic and stunning angels, spend every moment worshiping God. A place where we are restored, we are made whole again, our real home.
I have to believe by faith that this world is not my home.
It is only temporary. Maybe the old lady behind the walker with the homemade sign believed that to...
Take heart Jesus says. In this world you will have trouble...but I have overcome the world.