I fell apart over a gift bag yesterday.
But let me back up…
First there was the switchback drive up Big Mountain Road, looking out over Whitefish, Montana, which apparently is listed as one of the most beautiful cities in which to enjoy fall colors.
Then I arrived at a mansion with the car load of writers I had picked up at the airport.
A few details about this mansion we’re meeting in:
- I set my laptop down in the sauna room this morning while I used the bathroom.
- I’m writing this blog post from the library, and on the light switch I had to choose from regular or accent lighting.
- The ski room has doors that open under the chair lift.
- Lisa and I got lost trying to get from our room to the kitchen last night, and we could not stop giggling that we could not find the original staircase we had used to get to our room.
- There is a pasta pot built into the counter by the stove, with its own water spigot.
- I didn’t notice the grand piano in the living room until this morning.
- Our bedroom has a bowl of chocolates.
- There is an elevator.
- There is a theater room. THEATER.
- The kitchen bar comfortably seats 12.
Then there were the introductions to writers on the way in –women who have stories about how their blogs got started and when their books are coming out. Women who talk about social media and what font is best to use on a Pinterest post. Women who share in common stories about how God is working farther in their lives than they can seem to keep up.
Thus the little meltdown over the gift bag sitting on my bed. Lisa stood across from me digging through hers. She pulled out a package of Kleenex and said, Hmmm, I wonder what these are for?
Then I was cry-laughing and sniffing and dribbling tears on her shoulder.
If you go back over blogs that I wrote through the 365 days that were this last year, you will know I lived in constant heart pain. Stress upon stress. Sorrow upon sorrow. There were times in the year when I wondered how much a human heart could take before collapsing. Then something new and hard would happen, and I would groan to the Lord. No words, just groaning. It was hard to imagine that I could ever have good days again.
And now this? Meeting my writer friend, Lisa, in real life for the first time. Asked to write for a successful mom site that brings God and mothering together. A weekend with people who do what I do and who welcomed me in like we had always known each other (the glory of the family of Christians.) A mansion.
Ooooh, ooh. I forgot to mention there are two ladies cooking for us. They wouldn’t even let us clear our own plates from the table.
Now it’s the wee hours of the morning, and all the other little bloggers are snug in their beds. I am sitting in a leather armchair in the library, feet tucked under me, and I’m comparing today to all the nights of last year when I sobbed into my pillow at night down in the basement, so I wouldn’t wake up the family.
All that pain.
And now all this joy.
For just this one minute, I gasp at the understanding that God is as good as life as hard.
Do you hear me?
As deep as our pain, there is a matching, extraordinary joy and wealth and goodness.
Sometimes we get glimpses of it on this earth, but mostly we know there is a mansion waiting. And guys, I can picture a mansion.
Mansions in heaven being prepared for us right now –where in the first hour we arrive all the pain of life is going to be behind us and only giggling and gift bags and a huge kitchen with lots and lots of food is waiting for us.
Do not let your hearts be troubled… My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1-2 NIV)
God is good, and he loves you.
All this is for you, so just hold on. Hold on. Better is coming.