I think that may be the most fantastic image of a dead man there ever was: Tolkien's description of the deceased Aragorn, one of the main heroes in the Lord of the Rings.
When I was younger I had many grandiose images of my future self. My imagination would get the best of me, and I would have impossible dreams of a fantastic mix of all my favorite heroes, a sort of Super Jedi who wielded an ancient sword and had magical powers. The sort of man who was powerful, yet noble; just, yet merciful; stoic, yet charming. A man who could only ever be fictional.
I've become a different kind of magical superhero. The kind who lives a pretty humble life, unnoticed by most of the world. I never would have thought that a walking rosary would be something I would want to do with friends...two nights in a row. I'm pretty OK with who I am.
My friendships have never been better. Just when I thought I couldn't feel more loved, I was surprised with two more cakes and a surprise birthday party after my last post. I got the nicest birthday card ever, filled with a message from the heart that made my eyes mist a little bit.
I feel like the shell that contained my former self who wanted to be a hero but was in reality no one was scraped out by strong hands and filled with something better, something that wasn't me but was what I really was striving for all along. A better kind of hero, a lover of God.
The good things that people like about me aren't from inside me, they are from God. The only thing I did that's worth any praise is that I slowed down and started listening to God and putting my faith in Him. The rest is Him.
These are all things I've touched on before, but I feel like it takes on a more profound meaning when cast in the light of feelings I've had lately. A great friend of mine sang a song that spoke of a father who misses his daughter, recognizing that his memories of her in the wake of her death are only a small image of the happiness of heaven, a place far beyond his wildest dreams where he will see her again. The part of the song that makes me cry hardest is when he begins to talk about his finite view of heaven:
"But in my mind’s eye
I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space
All the cancer is gone
Every mouth is fed
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed
Every lonely heart finds their one true love
And there’s no more goodbye
And no more “not enough”
And there’s no more enemy...no more..."
As happy as I am I never really feel like I belong here anymore. The song touches me because it speaks to my experience on earth. I'm tired of feeling far from God. I'm tired of family dying of cancer. I'm tired of people being heartbroken. I don't want to keep saying goodbye to friends only to never see them again, especially one dear friend who will be gone from my life forever in less than two months. It's killing me to think about it.
There is consolation in the knowledge that no two lovers of God see each other for the last time. My friend and I love God, I know, and we will continue to grow apart even in our separate lives. But heaven feels so far away.
I think because of this understanding I feel I know the reason I'm so attracted to people. Not in a sexual way, but in a way that I feel like I want all of my friends to be a large part of my life for the rest of my life. Why I feel sad if I can't see someone, or I'm not growing in friendship with someone. There are few people I don't like. It's all because I want to achieve heaven, the final frontier, where I will be one with all of them, if they love God. I don't want to say goodbye anymore.
That said, this seems to be who I am. I have a friend who is gifted with a great deal of wisdom. I ended up talking to him for almost three hours one cold night, walking all around campus. It was an honor when he said, after I told him that I learn a lot from him, that he learns things from me, too. I really don't know what they are, but he thinks I'm special. That really feels good coming from him.
If someone like him can say that to me, then perhaps I am closer to being the person that inspired my imagination, so long ago...
There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was to see you again as I am in heaven.