I have written about how my faith has faltered since the day my son died. I find myself, more often than not, wondering if there really is a Heaven. Before his death, my faith was so strong and I never had doubts. I pictured Heaven as this beautiful crystal clear entity with green grass, flowers growing in abundance and kids frolicking in the grass. I would imagine God smiling, standing there in a white robe as he watched His children play. I tried desperately to hang on to that image. I needed to hang on. My Joey was there.
Once the reality set in and my anger took over, Heaven was no longer the way I pictured it. I starting doubting if such a place ever existed or if it was just in those picture books I used to look at while waiting in the dentist office some 40 plus years ago. God was no longer welcomed in my life. I felt as if I had been betrayed by a long time friend. I no longer wanted to be a part of anything associated with Him. To me, my faith died along with my son.
To the delight of my husband, and myself to be honest, I am now beginning to seek my faith again. I know that I am no where close to where I used to be, but at least I am on the right journey. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes the anger and doubt kicks in but I decided that instead of screaming at God “WHY?! WHY HIM!!?? WHY US??!!, I ask Him to be patient. I tell Him that I am trying. I say that even though at this exact minute, I am feeling alone and betrayed, I know He is there waiting for me to say “OK God…Lead me.” I chuckle because I already know the answer,… “I have been leading you all along.”
So, while I wait for that image of Heaven’s perfection to reappear, I have another image that I lean on. It is nowhere Godly or has faith written all over it, but it is the perfect image for me to hold on to for now. It is where I imagine Joey to be and where one day I want to be. I think of the arrival gates at LAX.
If you look around any arrival gate, you will see people of every age waiting anxiously for someone to arrive. Some carry arm full of flowers while others hold on to balloons. Some loved one are holding signs with words of hope and affection written all over them: Welcome home! I missed you! I have been waiting for you!’ There are tears of joy and screams of delight. Some have been waiting a very long time while others just rushed in on time. Some of those waiting, start conversation with people next to them. They share stories of delight, cheer and maybe some pain. They talk about the love for the person they are waiting for and how these last few minutes of waiting seem like an eternity. They share stories of love and moments of sorrow for having missed precious events due to the separation of time and distance.
All of a sudden, as soon as the first person walks through the gate, there is a rush from those who have been eagerly waiting for their loved ones. You will see tears of joy, hear screams of ‘I love you’ and hear the delightful laughter of children. Elderly people who have a hard time moving, suddenly sprint to their loved ones. Children run past others as they search for their mommy’s and daddy’s. Grandparent’s gently cuddle their new grandchild as they whisper “I have waiting to hold you for so long.” There, in the middle of one of the busiest places around, all seems right in the world again. A broken family has once again become whole.
There is where I picture my handsome Joey. He is smiling from ear to ear…that beautiful contagious smile of his. In his hand, he is holding some flowers. He is decked out and his eyebrows are still meticulously groomed! I run to him and he takes me in to his arms and hugs me as tightly as possible. As he kisses the top of my head, I whisper, “I’ve missed you so much.” He whispers back, ” Me too. I love you momma.” And, just like that, whether from magic, or from a belief of faith, an arrival gate at LAX, feels like Heaven.
I Have Been Waiting For You …Welcome Home