I hadn’t read to my kids in over a week. It’s possible it’s been closer to two. This cold won’t exit the premises and everyday I’ve come home from work, my voice has. But last night I was determined.

So I picked up our well-worn copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible and we started from the beginning. My eight year old sat in rapt attention as always and my 5 year old checked out about 2 pages in. Until we got to this part-

“And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.”

By this time our attention fixed like predators on prey. And my eyes in collusion with my heart almost caused the embarrassment of me losing it completely in front of my kids.

Maybe it’s because I don’t feel well. Maybe it was the moment, sitting there in solemn silence with those two holy persons so close I could smell the shampoo in their hair and feel the softness of their pajamas.

Or maybe I’m tired. And this sounded like the vacation we all hope for but never really materializes. The dream of so much good invading our senses the bad is crowded out.

Just imagining such a time is incredible and also painful. Sure, I’ve thought about it before but sometimes, like last night, boom, it lands on me in a way I can almost taste. So the heart aches. Because it is not really within reach. And so we gotta look forward.

But I kept looking back.

No colds, for me or my family.
No worries about the future.
No worries about now.
The bills.
The needs.
No wondering if my kids will turn out alright.
No taking dessert away from kids.
No not being able to afford it.
No broken sinks.
Or cars.
Or bones

All the hurt was unknown for Adam and Eve. My wife and I think a Hampton Inn is the lap of luxury. Can you imagine having the world to yourself and no pain or sickness or hunger or jealousy or frustration or futility in work or sadness or cancer or loss or death?

This is not to say my life is hard – though every life has some hard, jagged edges. But sometimes the difficulties are in technicolor brilliance and the good stuff is playing on a crappy black and white TV with 3 channels.

And I know I’m looking back at what was and I need to look forward at will be. I assume it will be better. That’s pretty hard to believe though. I’d just be happy with Eden at this point.

I suppose this is what the stories are for and why they’ve been given. So we can pine. So the muscles of faith can be stretched in the world we know as we prepare for the moments coming full of a world we can hardly imagine.