It’s that time again! Time for a little break from the usual routines of life. Time to see new things and have new experiences. Time to take a deep breath and relax. Time for… vacation!
Preparing for vacation when you have very young children, mind you, is not that relaxing. My children are cranky (wait till they get into another time zone!) and I still need to pack in the worst way. But, in a couple of hours, we will traverse off into a new place in which I will eventually relax in a beautiful location, surrounded by friends and family, and sigh and think, “Ah! This is paradise!”
Of course, it isn’t actually paradise. We kind of got kicked out of Paradise a while ago when somebody (not naming names here!) decided to eat a forbidden fruit that God had explicitly told that person not to eat. And now, alas, we’re here in a place full of suffering!
Still, artists have tried to portray what that paradise might have looked like. One of my favorite portrayals is this painting by Thomas Cole. What can I say? I’m a sucker for mountains and lush greenery, plus I never saw a waterfall I didn’t like. And there, in the middle of this gorgeous scenery, Adam and Eve stand, facing the mountains, their hands raised up in what looks to be an act of worship.
No, we don’t have Paradise right now. When we die, hopefully we’ll enter into Paradise, mind you and enter into the embrace of God! But for now? Nope. Our world is full of suffering, and paradise cannot co-exist with suffering.
Still, perhaps we love to travel so much because vacations do feel like a taste of Paradise that our souls ardently long for. After all, when we travel, we find ourselves in a brand new world. Our eye focuses in on the new beauty of the place and we are more able and ready to say, “How great Thou art!” If we are surrounded by the people we love when we travel, we additionally get that feeling of being fellow pilgrims looking a world that is new and beautiful, and we are filled with joy that we are sharing this experience with those that we love.
And who knows? Perhaps this is what it is like to enter into God’s Heavenly Paradise!
Anyway, time to finish packing… don’t miss me too much while I’m gone!