The "missing" part is slowly coming in like a rising tide that washes away the day's sandcastles. Each new event that does not include her, regardless of how small, inevitably elbows into that crowded sphere of our consciousness made up of memories and experience. No one wants to be forgotten. No one wants to forget. That's why we take thousands of pictures and videos of our loved ones...so many that we would never have time to revisit them. Even so, by the time we do have time to sit down and reflect months or years later, changes have taken place that make it impossible to recapture our universe as it was that perfect moment, for our universe it constantly changing. That is the basic nature of time. I realize I'm sounding like Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln commercial. I get that way sometimes. But our lives are made up of a long series of "moments" organized, ordered and recorded in our memories. We are only in any given moment for...a moment. We have a large canvas portrait of Whitney in our family room. It was a gift from two special friends of Whitney's...of ours. She's there with her beautiful, bald head and a smile that captures her spirit and the essence of what made her so doggone lovable. When that rising tide threatens to push...to wash away, I focus on that portrait and try to be in that moment with her. I may have to force the smile at first, but her smile takes away all the effort.
It's how I see her...how I want to remember her when she was mine. We visit briefly...just long enough to resist the tide--a tide that will inevitably return again and again. But we can't live there. Whitney, and others who have had life cut short, have taught us to love life to it fullest regardless of our situation. We have things to look forward to. We are at our most miserable and love life least when we feel we have nothing to look forward to. It can be a vacation, a date, retirement, or something as simple as a bag of popcorn and a good movie. However, we must bear in mind that whatever it is we look forward to and however far into the future we try to peep, the same inevitable, granite wall arises on the horizon. But, that's ok. Whitney's life and faith testified that we don't need fear or recoil from that end to our moments here as we are.
Where she is--where we can be--there are no moments, no need for pictures or videos to remind us of what a wonderful day it was. We will exist in a perfect day.
Whitney, in one of her letters to Taylor, said "If there is any way that I can communicate with you from heaven, I will." I always wondered if heaven may exist all around us...not in a far away galaxy or hiding behind Jupiter. Scientists tell us that, possibly, most of what makes up our universe is virtually undetectable and other dimensions may exist on other planes undetectable to us, as well. So, I have no issue in believing that our loved ones are with God and His presence is everywhere.
Here I go with another Matthew McConaughey reference. He was in a movie last year named "Interstellar". It had a lot to do with time travel and the idea that the only thing that could pass between two instances in time was gravity. It was how he communicated with his daughter in the past...or in the future of his past...something like that. Now, I'm sure that God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps a close account of messages from the "other side". But I would like to think that at those times when we are in His presence--focused in meditation or raptured in praise--and that overwhelming and unexplainable sense of joy flushes through our heart, that same joy is overflowing from our loved ones into us. Perhaps the joy of God's presence, too grand to contain in any dimension or universe, is their way of communicating with us. I can't think of a more urgent and magnificent message to send. I can't back that up with scripture, but I find comfort in the possibility.
I'm writing this primarily to those of you who have lost loved ones. And I know that there are many who may not have the comfort of knowing for sure that their loved ones were "good to go". I include myself in that group as I have many friends who have passed over the years. 2 Peter chapter 3 tells us "God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance". God's Will is that our loved ones are in heaven. His Will raised the mountains and carved the canyons that hold the oceans. His Will brought His Son to the cross to take the blame for our sins. We see firsthand the mass and power of God's creative hand as we marvel at the universe and its vastness in a clear night sky. I firmly believe that we can apply that same marvel to the vastness of God's mercy, grace and love.