Sunday, July 20, 2008
A Taste of Heaven!
My family and I have just returned from a vacation we have been planning for the last 3 to 4 years. Our adventure took us from our familiar stomping Grounds in Detroit, MI to the majestic mountainous wonder of Western Canada where my wife's sisters and their families make their homes. It was the third such trip for Luz, my older 3 daughters and I, and the first for our youngest Victoria and our son-in-law Mike.
Plane rides are always exciting and we all enjoyed our flights, but did note that the cost of fuel was leading to a more "No frills" flight experience - no meals, a small glass of soft-drink or two and maybe a very small bag of 5 or 6 miniature pretzels - NO FRILLS! Nevertheless, we wanted our focus to be on our time with family in Vancouver and Victoria, BC and what a time we had!
There were over a dozen of us assembled in Luz's Sisters homes - first Liza and her husband Tim hosted us in Vancouver and later Lanie and her husband Mike hosted us in Victoria. As always, first came the screaming and unrestrained emotion from sisters who had not seen one another for a few years, followed by waves of sumptuous food. In Vancouver we were treated to the traditional Filipino delicacies, Pancit Canton, Adobo, fish and rice with the added benefit of some healthy alternatives of fruit salad, blueberry pancakes made with unrefined flour and numerous other healthy and tasty dishes added by Liza's husband Tim. In Victoria, we had more of the same thanks to Lanie and to Cousin Ruby, and we got to witness first-hand the amazing handiwork of Lani's husband Mike, who built their house by himself - 4,000+ square feet of it, an amazing display of craftsmanship that provided more than enough room of all of us to live comfortably for the week. This was capped by a spa day at Lanie's professional Salon, where our wives and daughters were pampered at Cerelina's, the spa Lanie has named in honor of the woman who gave birth to her and her 5 siblings. I know of three of us in particular who have been blessed by the fruit of Cerelina's labor as it has manifested itself in the lives of our amazing wives!
One aspect of British Columbian living that was a real fringe benefit, was the physical element to all of the fun. We were told that BC is the healthiest of all of Canada's provinces. Everywhere we went involved walking, hiking, lakes, beaches and hills. Talk about guilt-free indulgences! As soon as you ate, you burned it off with some kind of outdoor physical activity. Another characteristic of the area that struck a cord with us was its diversity. There are parts of Vancouver that make it difficult to determine just where in the world you are! For instance, when we visited one of the Asian Night Markets, the sights, sounds, tastes and smells were so overpowering that our youngest daughter Victoria exclaimed with loud and unrestrained joy, "Mommy,I love it here in the Philippines!" That phrase got me to thinking. Though what we experienced in the night markets was wonderful, it was just a shadow of what a market experience in the Philippines is like. Granted, it had many elements one might find in the "real thing" but it was only a faint reflection of a totally different reality altogether.
I believe that is a part of what the Apostle Paul was conveying about our understanding of eternal truths and perspectives when he stated that in our walk of faith we often "see through a glass dimly." There are times when we are blessed to enjoy amazing manifestations of God's love and purpose for our lives, but even at their best, these instances are but a "foretaste of Glory Divine." Our trip was wonderful, but it had to come to an end. Tears of joy were replaced by tears of melancholy as we embarked on the ferry leaving Victoria and heading back to Vancouver and the road back to Seattle, USA. Having family members in your sight gave way once again to wondering how they were doing and keeping them and their problems in prayer from afar.
As wonderful as our time was, it makes me remember that this world isn't really my home and that there is a place being prepared for me and others who have placed their faith in the Jesus Christ. We are promised inheritances that can not be denied and loving relationships that cannot be diminished by time, space or trouble. The little bit of Heaven my family and I experienced this past week made me yearn even more for the Real Thing that will never end. I am eternally thankful for the goodness of God who gives us good things in this world to help us appreciate the great things in store in the world to come! In the meantime, I look forward to another taste of heaven as soon as He allows it! Until next time...