I was sitting in the 3rd row from the front at church, our regular spot. Susie was talking about heaven in a context I can’t put my finger on, because I got lost in a whirlwind of color and textures surrounding my view of heaven as it relates to our family. I allowed all the complexities that tie up my mind and my heart to fade into the rafters as I drew mental pictures of light and laughter and green grass and rolling hills of simplicity and unrestricted joy.
I saw Ry running to and fro with a magic wand and a fairy on each shoulder, granting him powers of mind control and telekenesis. He and God were discussing which star would be placed over his house while they strolled through paths of joy and imagination island. They picked weeds turned flowers by Ry’s imaginative powers and delivered them to the animals of the forest for very specific tasks. I saw him talking to Eve about her very bad choice to eat that darn apple, but embracing her with his ever forgiving heart. He glowed with freedom from tics and the ability to be who he is without worrying about approval from the humans around him. And he laughed and danced like no one was watching and sang like music belonged to only him. He built masterpieces in his mind and with his hands and felt accomplished in his ability to invent and dream. I saw him greeting the smallest bird with the greatest enthusiasm and give credence to the clovers blanketing the ground. I saw him treat every heavenly resident with equal respect and love and expect the same in return. He was joy, colorful, textured and radiant joy.
And then it hit me, sitting the 3rd row. This heavenly picture I was so artfully constructing is his life NOW. Here on earth. He lives with fairies on his shoulders and magic powers in his soul. He forgives and admires the ground cover and the smallest creatures. He laughs and dances with his mind and his body each and every day. His mind is a constant masterpiece and he exudes joy to every living creature. He and God talk about stars and hard things. Rylan walks with Jesus and lives the most textured existence of anyone I know. And yet, as his mother, I continue to strive for more. For him is what I tell myself. But maybe it’s all for me. Because I’m not able to live in the Kingdom in the way he so naturally can. I strive to live my life FOR the Kingdom and he doesn’t need to strive. He just lives it. Without so much as a thought.
Perhaps my prayers need to shift from a framework of “help my son’s journey here on earth” to “guide my path to look more like his.” Perhaps I need to stop looking toward eternity and start celebrating the Heaven we’re living right here and now.