60 years ago….The world was very different than it was today. That is no surprise, but I do find it surprising that all that changes seems to happen without us realizing it. 60 years ago, life was pretty good; there were new inventions and conveniences and people couldn’t imagine life without them. Likewise, today, we could probably say the same thing that life is pretty good. So many things have become essential to our lives that we cannot imagine life without them; we are dependent on microwaves and DVRs and cell phones and computers, yet none of those were around 60 years ago. In fact, the 30 year anniversary (Oct 15th) of Back to the Future made the news as people thought about how life really turned out compared to how Robert Zemekis dreamed it up.
The same year (1955) that Jim entered the world so did Disneyland, Legos, The Mickey Mouse Club, McDonalds – things that we take for granted and cannot imagine life without. Things that we forget have not always been there because they have become so intertwined with our lives and culture.
There are things that have happened within the last 5 years that Jim has not experienced. Think about some of the things that we now just take for granted: I-pads, smart phones, Google chrome, Netflix’ defeat of Blockbuster and Amazon’s defeat of Borders. The end of the space shuttle era. The legalization of gay marriage, and the decline in the AIDS crisis with the advancement of treatments. The world civilizations are now interacting more than ever before in large part due to cyberspace and it is drastically changing both the social fabric and the economy in new ways for better or worse. There are more effective treatments of brain cancer, specifically GBM, including injecting the cancer with a strain of the polio virus. Who would ever have thought that something so horrible would kill something even worse?!
Jim does not have any knowledge of Prince William marrying Kate and having 2 kids. He would be excited that the Cubs finally made it to the play offs.He would be in style, perhaps even hipster, since the growing of a full beard has once again become a popular trend and he loved flannel/plaid. On a personal level, our family has changed too and he has not been here to share it.
There are negative things that he has not had to witness including the Ebola crisis, the fall of one of his icons (Bill Cosby), many earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, fires. The death of Bin Laden. The global financial collapse. ISIS. E-cigarrettes and Vape shops.
And still, I think Jim would be the first to tell us that he has not missed a thing! One of the most frequently asked questions of a traveler is, “Where are you going?” For the Christian, the most true answer we can give is heaven, aka home. CS Lewis said that he desired something that no experience in this world could satisfy, which led to the probable explanation that he was made for another world. In 2 Cor. 5:8 Paul says that he would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. That is a really powerful statement that I am not sure many, even believers, can honestly say. I am not saying that Paul had a death wish or was suicidal. I am not implying that christians are shallow either, but I am saying that most of us forget that this planet is not our real home. We are citizens of heaven. We have only lived here however, and we are comfortable and easily distracted. We get obsessed with ourselves and our stuff and it is easy to forget that life will not always be this way. We do not have any idea how life can be better than it is now, not unlike 60 years ago or even today.
Paul knew that the real place to be is with Christ. So much so that he was homesick. He longed to be in the presence of the Lord. Each day he wanted heaven more and nothing on this earth could compare. Right when we think that it doesn’t get any better than this, it will! Life will be full of things we cannot even imagine and everything here will pale by comparison. One of the things that Jim did well was put God foremost in his life; His North Star, by which he navigated his earthly journey, is eternity in heaven with Christ. And, as I imagine it now Jim is enjoying the pleasures of God’s presence, creation and culture as he joyfully serves the risen King. So, for now I wait joyfully in anticipation and live in ways to foster hope, setting my mind on heaven that is as exciting as its God, living in light of eternity. It changes everything.
Dear Jim, we are celebrating you today. You would have been 60. We wonder how and with whom you are spending the day. I bet the party is more fun than we can imagine. We share memories, most of them are happy and make us smile and laugh. We miss you terribly, which makes the celebration bittersweet. We are sad that you have “missed” so much here and yet we know that you really haven’t missed a thing. We look forward to joining you one day and until then, we live homesick for you and for our forever home. As always we love you.
With Strength for today and Bright hope for tomorrow,
your Miriam, for the family.