From All Things New
Every man has two
Battles to wage:
In dreams he wrestles with God
Awake, with the sea.
(Antonio Machado, Proverbs and Song Verse)
It was July when my youngest son and his new wife came to visit. Stasi and I wanted to take them out for a special dinner, the kind newlyweds cannot afford themselves. We booked an evening at the Broadmoor Hotel, a Forbes five-star resort you may have heard of. Picture a gorgeous estate like you might find in France or Germany – verdant gardens, flowing fountains, architecture with an “Old World” feel, red tile roofs, arched turrets, and curving balconies.
We had a lovely evening over a luscious dinner and rich conversation. Olivia, our new daughter-in-law, said, “I’ve never had an evening like this.” Happy, sated, feeling connected with one another, we wandered outside with the sort of leisure you enjoy after a sumptuous meal on a warm summer evening. Stasi was having difficulty walking due to a hip injury, so the two of us chose to rest on a bench while the lovers took a stroll around the lake. The main part of the resort lies across the water, and its lights were shimmering on the dark waters while echoes of laughter and the sounds of dining floated toward us. Closer by, the luscious smells of petunias and summer flowers hanging in baskets surrounded us with nature’s perfumes.
Then I remembered my dream.
It had been months since I let the dream slip away, largely because I simply didn’t know what to do with it; the happiness and beauty in the dream was nothing near the hard months we were living through. I also didn’t know what to make of it at the time, so I’d ventured to ask the Lord what the dream was about. My Kingdom, he’d said quietly, reassuringly, with a touch of pride. Yes, it certainly had the “aroma” of the Kingdom of God. And yet… it did not feel like Heaven to me, because the scene was so Earthly – water, grass, lanterns, moonlight, a dinner party on a veranda.
Suddenly here we were, not in the dream itself, but in the promise of it. Sitting on the bench with Stasi, I was experiencing a taste of that settled happiness I had seen. Without bidding, my heart whispered, This is what we were meant for.
Now the curious thing is this: How did my heart know this? How do our hearts know this?
Because Pascal was right – there was once a happiness belonging to the human race, and in our hearts we only find now “the faintest traces that remain.” Eden was once our home, our long-lost dwelling place, and to Eden we shall return. Thus we keep bumping into the “promise” God placed both in the Earth and deep in our hearts, and only by means of the palingenesia will we be able to interpret it.
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God. (Luke 13:29)