Our first grandchild, Cooper was born almost 4 months ago; and I am finding it interesting the lessons I’m learning from him, already. We kept him overnight for the first time a few weekends ago. It was wonderful to watch his energy and to see him squirm and wiggle, his body constantly moving as if trying to break free and escape his current state of helplessness. When he’s with us, his bright blue eyes constantly scan around the room, searching and exploring, it seems. He appears to be in total wonderment. Sometimes he settles his gaze into my face, or more likely my wife Bonnie who lovingly holds him for hours and hours on end. As she rocks him in her arms, she constantly sings him silly songs, or gently calls his name, “Coooooper…I lovvvvvve you;” then he’ll focus on her for just a moment and then he smiles, nearly laughing, all the while continuing to flay his hands in the air, and kicking his feet out every which way. For that brief moment, he seems to acknowledge this love being offered to him. He seems grateful, and maybe even a little amused, but then it’s off to other things like the ceiling fan, the television, or a spot in the corner…a friend of ours claims that corner is where his Guardian Angel is hovering about, keeping another pair of eyes on him.
This got me wondering: what is he thinking? So, I did a Google search: “What do 3 month old babies think?” And of course, no one knows for sure, but some of the sites that made the most sense to me indicated that the ever-developing babies’ brains are basically checking out this incredible new world, with limited capacity and experience, to process it all. It’s obviously a dramatically different world from the one they came from in their mother’s womb, just a few short months back.
So, it seems to me, it would be kind of like taking a young child, from an ancient time, and plopping him into a modern suburban home. What would he think of something as basic as 4 walls and a ceiling; bright lights from lamps or glass windows; running water, electricity, TV’s …this list is exhausting. Think how exhausting it would be for the time traveling child’s mind to process all of these strange images and devices. So, I think of Cooper’s journey, from the comfort of mom’s belly, into a strange new world in which we all find so familiar.
Jesus tells us that Heaven is beyond our imagination. But, he also told us, we were close to the kingdom as well. One of my favorite images of Heaven is thinking of it in terms of a baby in the mother’s womb. Just like Cooper in his mom’s womb, there was a whole world outside of that place, with totally different sights, and sounds. And yet, that world was close enough to almost touch it. Sounds traveled from that outside world into the womb -Cooper heard sounds and voices of mom and dad, coming from somewhere.
When Cooper was born, what a shock that must have been! That warm, dark, intimate, quiet place was gone; out into a foreign world, with bright lights, cold hard surfaces, and strange-beings, poking and prodding! Put me back, he seemed to be screaming! He had entered a whole new …strange and wonderful world. With loving parents, friends and family, he will come to know love and be loved. It’s a different world, unimaginable from inside the womb; un-understandable even as these four months have passed by.
I like to think of present-life like being in the womb of Heaven, or maybe in God’s womb, waiting to be delivered. There are so many things that my mind cannot completely comprehend. I hear whispers from God, and I see glimpses of God. I feel God’s presence in nature, in music, in love of family, friends, and even in the kindness of strangers. This makes me feel Heaven is so close, I can almost touch it. And if I consider the nearly infinite vastness of space surrounding our universe, the light years of distance between the known and the unknown, God must either be in an adjacent world, right here in front of me, or Heaven must be really, really far away. But, God doesn’t feel that distant to me. God feels too intimate for that.
So, Cooper has reminded me, to be as aware as I can, even with my limited understanding of my place in God’s world. I must use my infantile ability to understand God relating to me, to trust, even though my mind wanders, my hands and feet are flaying. I need to refrain from the feelings that I must know what’s going on! I don’t understand! I want more control! I need to remember God is whispering to me, much like my wife softly saying to Cooper, Cooooper….I lovvvvvve you... He’s gently calling my name, and telling me how much he loves me. When I see Cooper, he reminds me, I need to trust, and simply rest in the loving arms of God, who has been holding me all along.