A slight melancholy fills the Knowlton home lately. Last Wednesday we drove to Three Lakes and dropped off Elisabeth at Honey Rock camp for “Passage”, Wheaton College’s adventure-based orientation program for first year students. After camp on Thursday, a bus will take her to campus where we will meet again and unload the paraphernalia for her new dorm home. She will start classes next Wednesday.
And now two of our happy band of five are missing.
We should have known this would happen; we saw it happen to others. We even saw it happen with our own when Josh left two years ago, but going from 5 to 4 still leaves a slightly noisy house. From 4 to 3 is…different. As I write, nobody’s home now. Diane is working. Annie is at Bible study. It’s just me, and I keep playing a song over and over again.
And then we said goodbye to Jeff Thompson and family on Sunday. For you who don’t attend Edgewood, Jeff has been our Worship Arts Leader for the last 8 or 9 years. He is so very gifted, and we will miss him.
If I sound depressed, I’m not really. Not really. I’m just feeling…sehnsucht, the German word which Wikipedia translates as “longing”, “yearning”, “craving”, or “intensely missing”. Maybe you could put it like this – sometimes I find myself more cognizant that I was not made for this world. And I think I know why this is…you see, there is an “impermanence” here…that doesn’t quite feel right. I’m aware of that this evening.
We feel impermanence when our children leave the home, but of course, there is another…greater impermanence: my friend Jon Van Houten’s mom Gretchen died Friday, and her funeral was today. She was elderly…and godly, but we all know something is out of place.
We know that things should be more lasting than they are. Something within us knows that is the case. But when I step back and consider it, I’m really thinking about the other world…the one I was truly made for. C.S. Lewis first taught me about sehnsucht, and he elaborated on the phenomenon in his book, Mere Christianity…
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Yes, that’s it…and as I feel those desires more acutely in recent days, my eyes are being lifted to another world, and thus to that time when this world will begin…
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (ESV)
Paul closes these beautiful thoughts with a command…
Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (ESV)
Maybe this song that’s been on my heart this evening, Even so Come, by Kristian Stanfill will be such an encouragement to you…
For tomorrow, Thursday, August 20th: 1 Thessalonians 5