Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sometimes Heaven Looks Like This...But Just a Little Bit

The week after Christmas is probably our favorite week of the year. 

Just about the time when we can’t stand the heat and humidity any longer, we head to the mountains of Lushoto with our best friends.  It’s tradition now; we’ve done it almost every year we’ve lived in Tanzania. 

There’s clean, cool air, long, deep conversations, obsessive board game-playing, soccer, wiffle ball, Kindle reading, and no responsibilities of cooking and cleaning.  The kids play all day together outdoors, creating imaginary worlds and new games and getting fabulously dirty. 

It’s a little piece of heaven.  Except, this year we were reminded that it’s not actually Heaven, when one of the teens came down with Typhoid, and one family’s room was robbed of their valuables on New Year’s Eve.  So we all left a little bit sad, because even when we try to set up the Perfect Week, and even when we all really do have a great time, the brokenness of this world still gets in the way. 

On the way back down the mountain, we listened to the audio book of The Last Battle, our favorite Narnia book and perhaps, one of the greatest books ever written.  It was perfect timing.

“'[T]hat was not the real Narnia,” [said the Lord Digory].  ‘That had a beginning and an end.  It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here:  just as our own world is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world.’

It was the unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling.  He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground…and cried:
‘I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.  Come further up, come further in!’”

Yes, we love our Decembers in the mountains of Lushoto because it looks and feels a little like Heaven.  But the brokenness reminds us that it’s not.  So even during great weeks like this one, we remember we are still in the Shadowlands.  We look forward with anticipation to Aslan’s real world.  

It's really not that cold....we just like to pretend.

Our New Year's birthday girl....more about her later.

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