“to take down your tent and move on.”
I am reading in 2 Corinthians
For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens.
Ron and I have spent our lives camping with our family. This picture of taking down a tent to move on to our eternal home comforts me. That our lives here on earth are temporary shelters like a tent not meant to be lived in permanently is an image that makes sense to me.
The death of our son forever changed our hearts. That I cannot embrace him and touch his face leaves an ache in me. Knowing that he resides in heaven in his forever home with his Father is comforting but doesn't remove the loneliness I feel for him here with me. Often I watched my kids put up and take down a tent as we camped around our country and up into Alaska. Never was I misled that this shelter would be their permanent home. The tent was their shelter to be taken down when we left our campsite after a brief time.
Some camping trips are longer than others just as some of our lives have different durations. My son died at 24 and last year we lost my mother-in-love at 90. This weekend on our camping trip we learned that Ina at 91 has terminal cancer that they are not treating because of her age. How brave she will need to be in the months ahead as she endures the pain and knowledge that her time here is coming to an end. She will have time to say her goodbyes to those she has loved a lifetime and look forward to being reunited in her heavenly home with those who have left before her.
I love this image of taking down a tent, packing up and anticipating getting on with our real life. Camping trips are great but I wouldn't want to live in the woods without the comforts of home forever. Ron and I took our family on a 2 month camping trip to Alaska. Sharing that time with our kids was one of the best times of our lives. Getting home was bittersweet because we had time together on this trip that our daily lives did not allow for. Even then we were all ready to embrace the memories and put our camping gear away.
Losing our loved ones and facing our own mortality is a harsh fact of life. This 'taking down the tent to move on' image is a perspective that I never considered. It is comforting to imagine.