Real Estate

On a September day when my sister Mary’s home smelled of lavender and the almost-autumn light poured in through the front door, she and I talked about heaven—that mysterious place where both of us plan to land.

I thought about how much I love books, like Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest that I was reading. I leaned forward in the rocker. “Heaven better have a library.”

Mary smiled and her blue eyes twinkled. “I want an audiobook section so that I can listen to stories and do my crafts.”

How many books has she listened to over the years? Too many to count, but I can imagine her listening and at work with velvet and cotton, yarn and buttons, as her magical finger puppets and dolls, quilts and book covers, crocheted doilies and critters take shape—like this six-inch rabbit which happens to be one of my favorites:

Mary's rabbit 2

Later that day, riding home on MAX, I listened to the clack and rattle of metal and steel and thought how images of heaven come and go. As a child I was fascinated by sliced thunder eggs, with their rough exterior and splendid patterns and rainbow colors inside. I also knew that the Book of Revelation fit right in with stones and agates: jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carnelian adorned heaven. Once through the pearly gates, I would have jeweled surfaces upon which to skip rope and never miss a beat.

As an adult, I began to turn to nature, listening to and praying Psalm 23 and Isaiah. If I lived a good life a river would run through my home and a Tree of Life would bear luscious fruit. What was waiting for me was a landscape of verdant meadows—green bells and cockleshells everywhere.

IMG_2713

Right now I’m a fan of a heavenly real estate mentioned in the Gospel of John, 14: 2. Jesus tells his apostles that he is going to prepare a dwelling place for them and that this place has many rooms. Some translations use the word “mansions” for what God’s House encompasses. I’m afraid that tapestry and parlors and winding staircases do not excite me, but a library of wood and leather is a huge draw.

What estate, castle, or mansion does not have one? And libraries are so diverse, whether heavy with medieval tomes or shiny with Baroque bindings. Contemporary architecture presents another vision, like the Tianjin Library in China which catapults my imagination skyward.

TianjinBinhaiLibrary

One look at China’s other-worldly building and a paraphrased quotation from scripture flares in my mind: “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, what is waiting for us.” I ask myself, since humans can construct such a haven for book lovers, what will the heavenly library look like?

My sister Mary and I agree that each person just might experience a completely different Great Beyond, one in keeping with desires of the heart: maybe jasper enduring clear as crystal, or meadows eternally ablaze with butterflies, or never-ending reading/listening shelves set above craft tables. Given our well-used gifts of voice and eye, Mary and I will both receive our reward: audiobooks and hard copies.

Dylan Thomas, without knowing it, described the everlasting celestial season when he wrote in “Notes on the Art of Poetry”:

Dylan quote

4 thoughts on “Real Estate

  1. Love your description and wishes for your place in heaven! Dylan really hit the mark didn’t he? My very favorite author that gives me a look into the beauty of life and nature and that has a foundation in scripture is Joyce Rupp.
    Thanks ,Tony, for your writings today!

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    1. You are so very welcome, Palma. I am following up on your suggestion of author Joyce Rupp. Your recommendation comes at a pivotal time, so I send my thanks in return. May your life be filled with dogs and laughter–oh! that is the same thing.

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  2. Wow, you’ve done it again. Thanks! Love this for many reasons: talk of heaven, books, Dylan Thomas quoted, and especially John 14:2-3 which has always fascinated me, imagining heavenly spaces whether rooms, mansions, homes, or limitless surrounds and having a place prepared for me there. Powerful.
    I’ve recently been trying to put down in writing what the term or concept ‘room’ means to me.
    “The room where it happens”—Lin-Manuel Miranda.
    Please say hi to Mary for me when you visit next, love the rabbit pic, she’s so talented!

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    1. Love that idea of what “room” means. A room of one’s own, room enough, room with a view. You’ve inspired me again! And I will give your hello to Mary. Truly, she is a wonder.

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