Thanks to the miracle of technology, by the time you read this, odds are pretty good I will be on my way to, waiting at, or sailing away from the Anacortes, Washington ferry dock, heading off to our annual Memorial Day Shea Fambly and Friends Camping Trip in our Hidden Island Redoubt, somewhere in the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, looking forward to four days of jollification with nothing to do but nap, walk on the beach, toss a Frisbie, ride a bike, and read a book.
Many people don’t know that Washington has islands, but we do indeedy! They are beautiful things that tend to just abruptly bulb out of the Sound rather than gradually glide down to a beach like the one on Gilligan’s Island. That’s because the Sound and its Islands were carved out by a huge glacier about 20,000 years ago (or 6,000 years ago if you happen to want to believe young earth creationist nonsense). This makes the Sound something like a fjord (which probably explains why we got so many Scandahoovian immigrants a century ago and why my childhood memories are filled with the song stylings of the inimitable Stan Boreson:
But I digress.
Anyway, while you are sitting there, probably in some boring cubicle in Corporate America, assailed with pangs of envy and feeling your soul sucked out of you by the Work/Buy/Consume/Die Rat Race, I’m sitting on a dock/beach/boat without a care in the world, and nothing to write for the whole weekend, happy as a lord. Why? Because I need a break as much as you do. :)
I’d tell you more about the Super Duper Secret Location of our Memorial Day Getaway, but then you’d be like all, “But we wanna come too!” and I’d be like all, “Sorry, it’s booked up!” and you’d be like all, “But that’s not fair” and I’d be like all, “Life isn’t fair” and you’d be like all, “Maaaaannnnnn!” and I’d be like all “Sorry, dude.” So we’ll just set that Shakespearean banter aside and I’ll talk briefly about how wrong I am, which always pleases people.
The reason I’m wrong is simple: When i think of Heaven, I think of my Hidden Island Redoubt. I really want, as many Americans really want, a Heaven that is sort of a really green retirement community, where you can fish and hang around with your favorite friends and family and get away from it all—forever. No doubt there will be places of dewy silence and music in Heaven (or whatever heavenly glories these things respresent here on earth), but I can’t help notice that, in Scripture, Heaven is typically described, not as a Hidden Island Far from the Madding Crowd, but as a City: the New Jerusalem.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on the idea of Heaven as more like Times Square than my Hidden Island Redoubt. Nonetheless, the Lord God apparently thinks it will ultimately be happier for us to be citizens of the City of God than the Island of God. The saints seem to know this, too. Whereas I want to believe that death is that happy moment when I finally get to stop bothering with all the concerns of this world and go lie on the Heavenly Sofa, people like St. Therese looked forward to spending their Heaven doing good on earth. When I die, therefore, I hope to “rest in peace.” But I also need to realize that if I get a “vacation” in Heaven, it will be a working vacation.
But, of course, first I have to get to Heaven. Jesus, help me, ‘cuz I ain’t getting there without you!
Back in June! Ciao!