That is the title of Philip Yancy’s latest book. A brilliant probe into life beyond the confines of our chronological existence. Every now and then we catch the glimpses of the wonder awaiting us. I’m talking about the life forever, something we usually forget in our limited scope and efforts.
Yet, every now and then something breaks through, or more correctly stated someone shows himself and it floors us. It may be a sunset, the taste of food a stimulating conversation or the beauty of another human being. We all have moments when we know, I’m going to live forever. As I’m typing this my brother’s watching MTV in the background and the lyrics go “I’m going to love you forever …”
I can still remember the first time I encountered the concept of forever. Five is probably not the best time to explore concepts of eternity. My dear mother quilted a beautiful blanket and I can still remember laying underneath it with the highveld sun bathing on my young body. My thoughts drifted towards forever and I tried to wrap my cranium around it, it was impossible, almost like a five year old trying to eat a pizza by himself. It frustrated me, the bigness, the mystery of it all and I remember just crying, feeling like a piece of driftwood in an enormous ocean.
I’m not driftwood anymore, I now understand that I’m part of an ever-expanding story, sure I’m not the main character nonetheless I have a role … The mystery shows me that. Lewis in Weight of Glory talks about the times when Mystery breaks through and cautions us:
“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”