Tomorrow is my daughter Arlynne’s birthday.
I have always had a problem with my kids birthdays. It is not that I resent them getting bigger. I just feel like there are so many opportunities to disappoint them on their birthdays. We have never really bought into the whole kids’ birthday party thing that is so popular in our society. We’ve done it a few times with each of them, except for our two youngest, but it has been the exception rather than the rule. I have tried. I have done the cupcakes for the whole class. We always have the birthday person’s choice for dinner. And cake. Sometimes homemade, sometimes bought. Something to make that person feel special on their special day.
But how do you mark the day when that special person is no longer here to celebrate with you. Arlynne wasn’t with us for her last 2 birthdays on this earth. She was on a missions trip. Or rather, 2 missions trips. She was completely committed to serving God by sharing His love with anyone and everyone she could reach. Her first trip was to Montreal, Canada. Working at a food bank. Doing outreach. Her 2nd was teaching a bunch of kids in Northern Ontario. Being a camp counsellor. Simply loving them. Three days after her 16th birthday she went home to heaven. Suddenly. Without warning. One minute she was here and the next she was in the presence of her Saviour.
Tomorrow she would have turned 19. I am pretty certain that they don’t celebrate the day you entered the world in Heaven. I am pretty sure that it is irrelevant when we finally get to the place we were made to live. Where we won’t simply survive but we will really start to thrive. To worship. To meet our Saviour and fall at His feet. If anything, I would think they would celebrate the day when your real life truly started. When you arrived in Heaven. We will be marking that day too. The day my life changed forever. The day my heart changed forever.
Tomorrow will be a challenging day. After 3 years it would seem that it shouldn’t really matter. Time has passed. My heart should have healed. I think my heart has healed. But it has healed like my appendectomy healed. It still has a scar. It has healed but it is changed. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not so much. But changed all the same.
I might not feel like celebrating tomorrow. But I rest in the fact that even though Arlynne isn’t here, I know where she is. I don’t like it. Sometimes I even hate it. But I know that when it is finally my turn to arrive in Heaven, these present earthly struggles will seem disappear like a vapour. Then it will finally be time to celebrate.