I remember reading a book about a child that was kidnapped – I can’t read those kinds of books anymore, so this must have been many years ago. He was kidnapped as a toddler, and they brainwashed him. They gave him a new name, they called themselves Mom and Dad, they created an entire life for him, from the outside, it was so normal and they were satisfied that he had forgotten his old life. But there was still something there, buried deep in his heart, he knew that something wasn’t right. He had dreams of his old life, recurring dreams of his mother and his father, his old room. And even though he was happy and his kidnappers were rather good to him, he wasn’t surprised, not one bit, to discover that he had been kidnapped. If I remember correctly, he figured it out and then embarked on a quest to find his real parents. He wasn’t who they all said that he was, and everything was fake, a way to convince. When he finally was restored to his home, every one worried about how it would go because, really, they were all strangers. But he saw his real mother, his real father, and he saw his home and he said, I always knew, I always knew, the truth was there, in my heart, the whole time.
I sometimes feel that way about God.
I feel like maybe we’re all exiles.
We think we’re in our regular life, our real life, but there is this thing, this sense, this memory of something better, something more, something that is everything good and perfect still stuck in our hearts.
And even when everything is good or we’ve achieved everything we ever wrote on our Bucket List or pinned onto Pinterest boards or maybe we accomplish some long list of world success and celebrity and money, we still know, deep in our hearts, we’re exiles and something, something isn’t right here.
It’s not enough. All of the stuff, all of the things, all of the experiences, all of the good or the thrilling or sexy stuff in the world is a smokescreen of goodness, an approximation of something real to convince every one else that we’re fine, we’re normal but really we’re walking around and we know we don’t quite fit, we know something is off, we know we’re not where we belong.
The memory of God’s kingdom is there.
It’s there in the stuff of the soul, the tendrils of the spirit. We’re like those that dream of home, it’s submerged somewhere in our brain, perhaps, but we know, we know, the truth is there, in your heart, the whole time. We see glimpses of it, we’re reminded, we have a hunch. It drifts like smoke or storms in like flashes of lightening-insight or takes our breath; we make love, we learn, we sing, we watch the stars come out, we care, we connect, we labour, we carry, we nurse, we cry, we dance, we have these moments of transcendence, like the veil between heaven and earth is fluttering, we can’t breathe for the loveliness of the world and each other, and just like that, we remember something.
Our skin carries the mark of dust and we often catch a whiff, maybe the perfumed scent, of the Garden in the cool of the evening, and we know, somewhere inside, we’re supposed to be walking with God, unashamed.
I wonder if that’s really what happens when we meet Jesus.
It’s not that we meet him, or that we believe in him, or that we mentally assent to some non-negotiable truths.
No, I think we recognise him.
I think that part of soul, our spirit, our bodies, our minds, locks into focus. It wasn’t a dream, no, that is what is real.
And we realise, Oh, my God, I always knew, I always knew, the truth was there, in my heart, the whole time. I’m home.