Last night I was riding with some friends to go bowling and it was raining. The rain was just hard enough, but just light enough to leave a really shiny glint on the road, in turn making it incredibly hard to see. I usually try to steer away from any morbid thoughts but every now and again, I let my mind go there. So I thought the simple thought, “If I were to be in a car wreck and die right now, would I have changed anything?” My thoughts went deeper to the idea of my funeral. Who would be there? Would it matter? Would people be sad? Would people be joyful? Would people be singing or dancing or sitting on pews wallowing inside of themselves with tears of sorrow and pain? Would people remember me for my words or my actions? Or possibly just the fact that I was young when I died and for some reason that means that a form of injustice took place and people are now obligated to mourn for my death? And then I went to the realm of thinking about how would it be for me. Here I am a kid learning and growing each day and to the world I’m at my prime, right? Seeing what it means to live and forming my steps. But I thought about if I were to die at that moment, what it would be like to be in Heaven the next. I don’t really think about that too much. But what if it’s just an immediate switch? No time lapses between my soul leaving my body here and being in front of Desire. What would that be like? To be embraced by Eternity and what would the tears feel like as they rolled down my cheeks onto the warm arms of my Savior as He held me close to His true and beating heart. And then the truth of Eternity kicked my chest in as we continued to drive down the interstate in the rain. Eternity. My soul. Your soul. We’ll be somewhere, doing something. And I started to hurt because I thought about the seven billion souls that made up the human race and where we would all spend Eternity.
The other day I was in the library reading, which I seem to be doing this a ton these days. I was reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I have been reading this book for about three weeks now and I’m starting to get nervous because the pages in my left hand are beginning to be thicker than the amount of pages in my right. This book has read me more than I have read it, if that’s not too cliché to say here. The book paints such an accurate picture of humanity; of evil and good, heartache and love and sorrow and joy and pain and laughter and brutal honesty and brutal betrayal. I have gone through a wide range of emotions during this book, cried and laughed at the same time and made an absolute fool of myself in public because I couldn’t help but gasp out loud as that cursed shotgun went off. Maybe you could say that I’ve learned how to dance while reading this book. But there was one in particular day when I was packing up shop and saw a man sitting reclined in a chair reading with a look of pure ecstasy on his face. I observed him for a moment and knew that he was learning to dance, with whatever book he was reading as his partner. I don’t know what it was about that man, but a deep longing for the human soul arose in my chest. I am madly in love with people. Their souls and their beauty and their eternal worth. I firmly believe each of us spend Eternity someplace and I long with a desire that burns me to physically hurt for every one to spend Eternity in Glory. I feel pain when I see others experience pain and is it too far too say, taste death when others do? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a good chance I am, I do that a fair amount.
But what I know for a fact is that people matter. As Steinbeck says through the words of his beautiful character, Lee, “I feel that a man is a very important thing- maybe more important than a star. This is not a theology. I have no bent towards gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed- because “Thou Mayest.” Thou mayest comes from a words called, timshel and this word has revolutionized my life. It is Hebrew and used in Geneses 4. It tells the story of mankind and how we have a choice whether or not to follow in the sin of our fathers. A choice whether to be great, to live, to dance. A choice whether to follow and know Jesus, life, hate, fullness, emptiness, love.
We choose. And I think everyone spends Eternity someplace and my heart yearns for us all to spend it together.
There is a scene in East of Eden, maybe the most profound piece of literature I have ever read where Dessie comes back to her childhood home. She has gone through tragedy and has lost the vigor to live. The scene tells of her waking up in her house and going through all of the memories of her life and the things that made her who she was. She has come home to stay with her brother, Tom, who has also lost vigor. But when she gets downstairs and see him, she realizes that he has chosen to look past pain and start again. And she sees with unblinded eyes that she can choose to live and not be the same, not to let sorrow control her thoughts and dictate her steps. Tom asks her what kind of egg she’d like and she replied, “I want a purple egg.” Symbolizing her choice to live differently. Symbolizing her choice to choose her destiny.
I sometimes wonder, and when I say sometimes I mean everyday, what it would be like if we all chose to love people. To acknowledge each other’s incredible worth and act upon that worth. And now my heart cries, what would it look like if we all wanted purple eggs?
I know I’m not alone in this. Out of the other seven billion people that surround this planet, at least a couple of them must desire a purple egg every now and again.
By the way, I hope that there is dancing at my funeral. Lots and lots of dancing.