One Last Smile – For Now

The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. – I Corinthians 15:42-44

Therefore encourage each other with these words. – I Thessalonians 4:18

The cabin I’d been assigned to was a dingy, greyish brown. On the floor was an unexplained puddle of what looked and smelled like urine. I was a little put off by having to clean it up, but at the same time I reminded myself that this was nothing compared with what my friends on Sanibel Island are having to deal with, post-Ian. I had already heard tales of houses filled with sludge smelling like sewage, ruining virtually everything. So, stifling my complaints, I grabbed a rag and started mopping up the whatever-it-was, hoping I could get it cleaned up before anyone else arrived.

No such luck. An attractive, well-dressed woman came through the door, greeted me, sidestepped the soggy rags, grabbed something, and went back out.

It was then that I heard the animated voices of women singing, talking, and laughing. I stepped outside to see what appeared to be a women’s retreat being held outdoors. It was a gorgeous day – warm and sunny with a light breeze. The grass was such an intense green it was almost unrealistic. Chairs were set out for the ladies, and a long table was filled with every kind of sweet treat that I can’t eat in this life, although I know, someday in my new body I’m going to enjoy all that stuff! The pastries looked not only delicious, but delightfully festive, as well – decorated with brightly colored flowers, fruits, and sprinkles.

I was immediately drawn to this group and their delightful fellowship. Most of the faces were vaguely familiar from church, but there was one I knew very well. K looked my way, and her face broke into that joyful smile that always makes me instantly happy, as her expression invited me to join them.

K was, in a word, radiant. The sun reflected off her hair as if it were pure gold. Her long, chiffon garment fluttered in the breeze, its pastel colors rippling like dancing rainbows.

Since all these ladies had Bibles, I told K I was going to grab my Bible and would be right back. She smiled approvingly.

As I reentered the dingy cabin to look for my Bible, I stopped in my tracks as it suddenly occurred to me…

Wait ... Didn’t K die a few days ago?

Grabbing my Bible, I returned to the group of ladies, who were still talking enthusiastically among themselves. I searched their faces for K, but she wasn’t there...

As I woke up from my dream, one of my favorite songs was playing in my head:

Mine are Keys to Zion’s city, where beside the King I walk,

For there my heart has found its treasure; Christ is mine forevermore.”

Marty and I had been in Michigan most of the summer, and every time I’d been back to Louisville for a few days, I had tried to get together with K. I hadn’t been able to see her, first because she was busy, then she wasn’t feeling well, then she was in another country getting cancer treatments that she couldn’t get in the States. The last time I was home, she was too sick to see anyone. Next thing I knew, the church was sending emails with the sad news.

Her funeral is tomorrow.

It broke my heart that I hadn’t been able to see K one last time, nor to say goodbye to her. I considered her one of my best friends at my church, and I always loved the hours we’d spent together, talking, telling “God stories,” and praying for each other and our families. Even just sitting with K and her husband at church was a blessing.

Looking back at my dream, I think in a way the Lord was letting me have that “one last time” to see her – although when I get to where she is, there will be many more! And it occurred to me that even during this “one last time” together, we still hadn’t said goodbye!

But then, with Jesus, there really aren’t “goodbyes,” are there? Just “see-ya-laters.”

I’m on my way to K’s visitation now. I’ll see her family and friends. We’ll hug, and we’ll cry, and we’ll miss her so … But we all know where she is and what she’s doing. She’s smiling that radiant smile, singing the praises of the Lord she loves so much, basking in His love and glory, and enjoying her new body, forever without sickness, weakness or pain.

Someday I’ll be there, too. K and I will sit and talk and laugh and sing, and share “God stories” for a few hours … or a few centuries…

(I might even eat some doughnuts.)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, how can we thank You for loving us so much that You were willing to die for us, so we could live eternally with You? Thank You for the peace that comes from knowing that whatever happens here, this life is not all there is. Someday we’ll step out of this dingy, fallen world with its stench of sin, into the glory of the new heaven and the new earth, into light and life and joy and eternal fellowship with one another, and most of all, with You, our loving Savior. In Your name, Amen.

37 thoughts on “One Last Smile – For Now

  1. Isn’t our loving Savior so kind to give us dreams, as little hints of Heaven? Thank you so much for sharing this personal moment. God bless you and I am so thankful God gave you, as the song says, a blessed assurance.

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  2. What a wonderful way for the Lord to give you a glimpse of K and remind you of what to look forward to. He gave you some divine perspective. He is a wonderful God. Sorry for the loss of your friend. Hugs to you Ann πŸ’™

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  3. Reading this was interesting God timing for me. I am home after surgery where cancer was found. 13 days in hospital for how major the operation was and now awaiting for chemo. Reading this makes me cry but is so true of God’s love and eternity! Won’t heaven be amazing and your seeing K again : > )

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  4. A wonderful dream Ann.
    About 10 years ago, we lost several family and friends. I made it a habit, which much of family has adopted, to say “Bye for now” knowing it could always be our last here not not forever; just a pause for those who know Jesus. It’s sad that I cannot say that with all my family and friends.

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    1. I know what you mean, Gary. Not all of my family is saved. We have a habit of saying “Love you!” instead of “Goodbye.” If anything happens before we see them again, at least we know that was the last thing we said to them. ❀

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  5. I’ve had dreams like that too, when I suddenly realize that what’s happening can’t possibly be real, I must be dreaming. It’s amazing the way our brains work! As for seeing K in your dream, I too think it WAS a little gift from God. With you I’m praising Him for the eons of time we’ll get to enjoy all those family and friends we’ve had to say good-bye to over the years! Maybe Jesus will join our circle too!!

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    1. Oh, I’m sure He will, Nancy. He’ll be the Guest of honor! πŸ’•
      Today I met K’s daughter, like a young version of K. ❀️❀️! I told her about the dream, and she said other people had been having those dreams, too – with K in them! I wonder if those were the other women I was seeing with her? 😏

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  6. Annie, I’m sorry for the temporary separation of K but grateful you have the assurance of joining her in the eternal celebration with Jesus. I pray that anyone who knows K but does not know Jesus will be drawn to Him through her memorial services.

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    1. Thanks, Manette. Her service was beautiful with many testimonies and tributes from her children and friends. I met one of her daughters today when dropping off a meal for her family – a young version of K! We hit it off immediately. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’• We’re going to try to get together to sing before she goes back home – to Hawaii. πŸ’”πŸ˜’

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