My daughter, Lenya, has gone to heaven. She is on a distant shore. Though we can’t see her, she is near. Heaven can’t be far, for when you leave this earth you are instantly with the Lord. At most it is a day’s journey, for Jesus promised the thief on the cross, Today you will be with me in paradise. I wonder if it’s even closer than that, just unseen to us presently. Did not Stephen describe its unveiling to him in his final moments as he gave us a glimpse of the glory he was about to head to? I wonder and long to find out. Perhaps if we knew how close heaven was, we would be more motivated by it and live to fill it more ardently than we do.
In Lenya’s final moments on Earth, her mother’s voice was in her ears, and she was held by her father’s hands. Those were frantic, desperate, and frightening minutes to us as we sought to keep her here through CPR. God chose instead to bring her to His country. A place without sin or pain or fear. No, she can’t ride her pink bike on the cracked pavement of this tired world any longer, but I don’t suspect that brings her much concern as she rides down the beach on a horse with a tropical wind whipping her hair up behind her. Or maybe it’s a unicorn. If she has the option, I guarantee you she is picking the unicorn.
It is true that Lenya died. It is also true that she is more alive today than she has ever been. More alive than me. I take great joy in thinking about the fact that she is in a place without death. We had to attend her funeral but she did not. She never attended one in her life, and she never will. She is in the land of the living.
What anchors us in this storm of our separation from her is the promise that she is with Him and He is in us. The more we are filled with His Spirit, the greater our connection to her grows. I would lose heart if I did not believe that I will see the Lord. But I do. Someday soon my ship will set sail for the distant shores of that perfect place, where Lenya lives and laughs and plays, and I will finally be Home.