merely a shadow

Today I feel like my dramatically lowercased "dear diary" entry yesterday is so silly and shoddy. Why do I try so hard to make those last lines of my contribution to cyberspace echo with meaning? Why can't I just write something honest and not care if it makes sense and has a 'moral of the story' to go along with it?

Well, I'll give it to you straight.
The moral of that particular story (and maybe at the root of my frustration) with this trendy book I'm reading about God and faith is really two things: 1. This woman wrote a book that's honest and fresh and published and I didn't and 2. In my cynicism (and simultaneous reading of Heaven by Randy Alcorn), I very much disagree with what seems to be her conclusion about celebration and joy

I hold nothing against the author (as well I shouldn't, having just confessed sincere jealousy of her success), because I really do love the way she has knit her straight-from-the-soul words together in such an accessible way. I guess I just might be frustrated with the mortality of words written to celebrate life here on this little earth... if they are not paired with the promise of what every good, beautiful thing in this world represents.

I turn a few pages back in my journal and read my notes from the Heaven study I'm doing (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). The study guide asks me to read Mark 8:34-38 and think about what questions Jesus is asking. He asks very plainly (don't you love when studies basically lead you to the answer like a horse to water) "what does it profit to gain the whole world and forfeit your soul?" "What can a man give in return for his soul?"
I wrote: You can insert anything in the first question for "the whole world" - like health, prosperity, peace, two parents, the most elegant dinner party, a house full of children, career success, even clean drinking water - and we end up with the same problem: a forfeited soul without Christ.

I believe this, I really do. I believe that no matter how happy we make ourselves or how well we revel in delight in the good things God has allowed us, there is no amount of any of these that would replace the loss of a soul.

So. If I were to write a book about celebration, there would be tales of doubled over laughter and glorious rescues. But, and I don't know how, I would have this responsibility to share that these moments of delight are merely a shadow of the explosion that is to come.

MERELY A SHADOW! Can you believe it? I believe it, but I know I don't quite understand it.

The first week of school, I had the following conversation with a student.
MJ: This is my motto for this year, "Don't take life too seriously because in the end no one ends up alive."
me: Hm. That's interesting. So, where does everyone end up?
MJ: (with duh on her face) Dead, Miss.
me: Uh-huh. So, what should we take seriously?
MJ: What? Death, I guess.
me: Yeah, something like that. You know, the place where we'll spend eternity?

I look back on that conversation (so providential and completely 'out of the blue' and yes, it's they all call me "Miss") and I know that this is what I am meant to celebrate. Not the fleeting, celebratory moments as ends in themselves, but the deepest delight comes in knowing that there is an eternity that will echo with the brightest of celebrations. And, in all this, how can I celebrate... how can I bear to celebrate so deeply and with such anticipation and then keep this beautiful eternity to myself?

(there I go again trying to get all one-liner worthy at the end of this post. ugk! so I'll leave you with videos instead that have eternity in mind)