As the plane pushed upward from the runway for the final leg home, I smiled. As gravity pushed me back into my seat, I thought, "This is it. One more short flight and I'm home." By this time I had been traveling continuously for approximately 36 hours. I was tired, hungry, and in desperate need of a shower. But none of that mattered. "Home" was all that was on my mind.
Bonnie used to chide me about always being the last one off the plane. She would stand in the terminal and wait as the other passengers streamed by. Finally, I would appear, a straggler amongst the pilgrims. But not today. I was seated up front, just behind the few in first class. I hurriedly collected my things, and hustled by those ahead of me so that I was the first to appear.
I saw Bonnie standing there, beautiful, slightly dressed up for the occasion and I ran to meet her. Okay, dragging my carry-on behind me with the heavy backpack on top I'm sure my gait was closer to a lumbering right tackle than an olympic sprinter, but we were whispering our hellos pretty quick just the same.
When we got home, the first sensations which greeted me were the familiar smells. Oh certainly there was the bouquet of dinner simmering in the slow-cooker. But there was more than that alone. Have you ever noticed that a home has a unique aroma? Not an odor by any means, but a unique combination of fragrances that is so familiar and, as a result, so…comforting.
Coming home delivers the promise of…how does one describe it…"rightness." It is the sensation of "this is the way things should be." But that "rightness" only exists because of the people that make it "right." A home after a funeral still has the same scents, the same sights, the same sensations. The floorboards still creak when you step in the right spot. The door still sticks when opened. But it's not the same. Something, or rather someone, who was essential to the "rightness" of home is gone. And that makes all the difference.
Tonight with Bonnie busy in the kitchen, the world seemed as it should be as I settled into my chair. The sights, the sounds, feel of the surroundings, were a balm to my weary soul.
And yet I thought, if this is true in our earthly dwellings, how much more will the feeling of "rightness' be when we are at home with the Lord. When we are gathered to him and behold his glory, no doubt awe will be a primary emotion. But I can't help but think that the sights and the sounds and, yes, the fragrance of our inheritance will awaken within us a sense of "this is the way it should have been all along." Faint memories of the best of times will be completed then. Like a long forgotten strain of a beautiful melody heard anew, there will be an "ah yes, this is it, this is what I remember."
But it will be more than we remember, so much more. For just as the "rightness" of home is dependent upon the ones who inhabit the structure, so the glory of paradise will be the grandeur of the one who dwells there. All the musical tripe about "a mansion over the hilltop" will be seen for the nonsense that it is. When our eyes are filled with the person of God himself, when we are captivated by the magnificence of his being, when we are overcome with the radiance of his glory, all the rest will fade from view. And the fullness of being with Christ, of which we get but the slightest taste here below, will be a bottomless flagon from which we will drink deeply for ever and ever.
Then we will say, "This……this……this is what I've longed for. Now I'm home." And the sweet familiarity of it all, the comfortableness that we'll experience, the "rightness" of it all will be a sudden rush of memory and an overwhelming realization that this is what we we've never really experienced but were made for all along.