Every so often I go through a phase of looking up songs I listened to years and years ago to see what I think about the thoughts expressed in them now. (Thank you very much iTunes) Mostly the songs I look up are from the contemporary christian stuff I used to like in high school and somewhat in my college years. This past week I recalled a lovely song called "Home Free" by Wayne Watson. I don't know whatever happened to Wayne, but I used to love this song.
It is basically a "sweet by and by" kind of tune. It's a song that talks about the yearning for what he calls "ultimate healing." I find myself still liking the song, but of course for vastly different reasons today.
When I was younger, late teens/early 20's - I subscribed to the idea that someday we would understand it all. When we got to heaven we would have some sort of list of explanations handed to us. A sort of conference where God would say, "This is why I caused/allowed the tsunami, here was the reason behind HIV/AIDS, this is why I allowed all the bad things that happened in the lives of everyone I knew". And I also assumed that whatever the explanations were, they would all make perfect sense. I would have arrived home to my Father's house, and I would have a room and everything would all add up just the way it should. Even better, I would get to see all those people I knew who had died before me, and they also would be able to explain to me the stuff that I didn't "get" in this life.
The other side of this heavenly coin was the idea that magically all of our shortcomings would be healed. Finally, I would stop overeating, and be magnificently thin. All of the scars I got from living in this world would be magically erased as if the wounds never occurred. What a lovely thing: to die as if I had never lived the bad parts of life...
The song's chorus goes like this: Home free, eventually. At the ultimate healing, we will be home free. Home free, oh I want to be there, at the ultimate healing, we will be home free.
I'm pretty sure what Wayne meant by the "utlimate healing" was death/heaven/the afterlife. And that is a lovely thought. But what about now?
Is our only real hope in the afterlife? Is that really what Jesus meant? If so, it seems pretty hopeless down here on earth, doesn't it?
More and more I see the message of Jesus, truly the Good News, as something that is happening all around us. When my child learns to be loving, when I learn to forgive, when my heart is healed after feeling torn apart...these things are the here and now of faith. And thank God for her grace. It's not that I don't wonder about all the terrible things that happen, and that I don't try and figure out some solutions that are woefully inadequate to fix the problem, but still healing is here and now - and perhaps faith really does allow for the "ultimate healing" Wayne sings about. Only because the healing comes in community.
In a similar vein, I saw a sign this week that I have read and chuckled about for a few weeks, but didn't think about its significance until today, it reads, "Free Seeking the Truth self-study DVD's." Really? Seeking the truth can be done through self study? I can't imagine that's true. It seems to me the only way to find the truth (not that it's a one-time mission so much as journey with lots of pit stops)is in community. It is only with my sister's journey in my heart that I can discover where I am supposed to go and where my journey fits into the tapestry of faith. It is only when I take my brother's hand that I have the strength to continue, the courage to see what it is that lies before me. Without the context of community, healing seems like an event that must happen in some other time and some other place. Within the context of community we can see healing as sure as one can see a wound scab over.
In some meditation time yesterday a strange image popped into my mind...a large wound that had developed an equally large scab. Out of the scab, flowers grew. All in and around the wound were blooms of pink and yellow and purple. So much so that the scab was barely visible. However if you looked carefully, it was still there. When this thought occurred to me, I knew nothing else to do but to thank God immediately for all of those scabs that have become beautiful in some way. I don't thank God for the wound that caused the scab...that seems almost masochistic to me. But I am so thankful that in the healing I have been able to see the beauty that is there and that grows wildly all around. It is only in community, in the context of another's hurt, that I become incredibly aware of the healing I have already received. It is only in the moment of loving the other, that the healing becomes complete in my own life.
In the end, I don't think I'm awaiting the "ultimate healing" to come so much as I am blessed to receive it on a daily basis now. Still love the song.