Monday, November 29, 2010

I Left My Heart in San Gimignano

Pretty much my whole life I have dreamed of going to Italy. Maybe it’s because I grew up in New York living next door to a wonderful Sicilian family. Maybe it’s because of my love for Italian food and culture. This adoration of all things Italy even led to my choosing L’Italiano as my foreign language choice in college even thought Spanish would have been a much more practical option.

Finally, after 36 years of dreaming about it, I was able to travel to the “Old Country” and experience Italy, thanks to a wonderful birthday gift from my mom. And, I was not disappointed one bit. Italy was everything I had imagined and then some. At one point during the trip, I found myself standing on the highest part of a tower on the edge of a village that was built 250 years before Christ, overlooking the breathtaking Tuscan landscape. A harpist softly played a melody in the olive grove below and I could literally feel my heart aching for that moment to last forever. There are still times that I look at pictures from the trip and feel that heart-ache all over again. It is a longing that just won’t go away.

I was having one of those moments the other day when I realized that it’s probably a good thing the Bible is very limited in it’s description of heaven. In the past I have been frustrated that God has not revealed more about what we can look forward to when we finally make it home. But, I think I may understand why He didn’t. If my heart can ache over another place on this planet, I cannot imagine how I’d feel if I ever got a real glimpse into heaven only to have to continue living here on earth. I’m not sure I’d be able to go on.

In Corinthians 2:9, Paul writes about how little we really know about Heaven, “Corinthians 2:9, “…but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’"

The scriptures tell us just enough about heaven to know that it is a place we can look forward to, a place deserving of our longings. However, there is so much here on earth that needs to be accomplished before we get there. I think if we really understood what heaven would be like, we might never get our heads out of the clouds to take care of the earthly business at hand.

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