The concept of forever is difficult to wrap your mind around. On this side of it, anyway. When you’re waiting for it, it’s an eternity in and of itself.
While I probably wouldn‘t have admitted this, when I was little I think a part of me just sort of trusted that everyone I knew would live forever. From a logical standpoint, I knew that wasn’t true, that no one is immortal, but that never really occurred to me on any sort of real level.
A dear friend of mine just lost her grandmother this weekend. She said to me, “I just wish she could live forever.” We’d all probably say that if asked, right? It’s impossible to fully understand that now she *is* living forever…because we’re not there. We’re here…without them. It’s so much easier to feel the pain of not having them here, the void, then to understand the peace and fulfillment they’re experiencing in eternity.
Until we’re forced to say goodbye, that’s kind of subconsciously how we view the people we love. We just sort of assume they’re going to be with us forever because we can’t imagine life any other way.
That mindset really doesn’t change with age. It hadn’t for me, anyway. It’s not growing up or maturity or any sort of advanced understanding of the way things work that wake you up to reality. It’s the first biting encounter you have with saying goodbye. And it’s so biting because you’re forced to see them go...it’s not your choice. You’re not ready. You never are.
It’s a heart vs. head thing, I think. Your head knows that someday you’re going to lose grandparents, or that there’s always a chance that someone you love won’t be here tomorrow, for whatever reason. But your heart can never be ok with that, and because of that it won’t let you admit that reality.
Again, forever is a weird concept to wrap your head around. There are almost two sides of it. Forever can either be really good or really bad. The really bad side is the one where it’s a waiting period. The other side is the one where you’ve reached it.
Heaven is such an incredible gift, to know we have eternity to look forward to, to know that I’m going to see Tarah again someday and to know that she’s in the best place she’s ever been and ever will be…forever. But on the other hand, it’s so distant. We have no idea what it looks like, what’s going on there, what they’re doing. That takes away a level of comfort, not knowing. Not all of it, certainly, but some. And knowing that she’s there…and I’m here. Sometimes it’s easier to think about that distance than how happy she is. But she is happy. And she’s not going anywhere.
The wisdom of Pooh Bear once told me that “forever isn’t long at all, as long as I’m with you.” Forever is terrible when it stands between you and someone you love. Forever is the greatest thing in the world when it means being with that person every day for the rest of eternity. Thankfully, I’ll never have to wait ‘forever’ for that.
Maybe that’s why forever is so hard to understand. It doesn’t exist on this side. It’s something I’ll only ever be able to look forward to until I’m on the other side of it. But I do get to look forward to it. Forever isn’t too good to be true. It’s just a little further away than I’d like at the moment. And there is peace in that.