The Place Between
“You know that place between sleep and awake? That place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”
I love these words from that incredible 90’s movie Hook. (Be honest: There was a time when you could quote it and at least one time in your life when you’ve yelled out “Bang-a-rang!”) The line above was spoken by Tinker Bell to Peter Pan. It’s enchanting, isn’t it? I’ve often wondered if Jesus says something similar to us–reminding us of what it means to live life in between.
Heaven is an interesting concept in the Scriptures. There are a few words used in our Bible that illuminate this term. When Jesus is on the cross he tells the thief next to him that he will be with him in “paradise.” It’s the same word used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of Old Testament) in the book of Genesis to describe the garden of Eden. Paradise is a garden. It was thought to be the place where righteous people go in the life to come.
Jesus uses another term for heaven–“Eternal Life.” This phrase means “life to the full” or “Life of the ages.” Eternal life is something Jesus offers his followers throughout the gospels. According to Jesus, Heaven is something that happens now, but also continues on into eternity. Most of us talk about heaven as if it is something that is happening later, out there, after this life. Almost as if this life is just a preparation for the next. But what if this life is connected to heaven? What if heaven is an extension of this life now?
I think in our spiritual lives we can relate to what Tinker Bell is saying. We, too, are aware of that place between this life and the next. It’s a place where we are caught in between the beauty of heaven and the temporariness of this earth. It’s in that tension between two worlds that we live. That’s where we hear from our Father; that’s where he is waiting for us.
I’m sure you’ve visited that place before.
It was on your wedding day, getting lost in your spouses’s eyes. It was the first time you held your son or daughter, looking at their tiny frame, holding their small hands. It was a night with friends where you laughed until your sides hurt. It was eating an incredible meal and dancing, even if you can’t dance. It was going to that concert of your favorite band and singing along the entire night until your throat ran dry and hoarse. It was a glimpse of beauty, like paddling out into the Pacific on an early morning and sliding across that glass surface effortlessly.
That place where we remember dreaming of something more is the place where The Dude, Jesus, beckons us to live and thrive, to love and dream.
Part of ‘eternal life’ is waking up to the true meaning of life itself which is found in Jesus. In one of his letters, John tells us that “Eternal life is knowing Jesus.” Does that mean in this life you can experience a bit of heaven? What if this life is not just about preparing for what comes next, but actively participating in what heaven is and will be–knowing Jesus.
The moment we meet Jesus, we begin to wake up. We are given new eyes, new ears, and a new hope. He invites us to travel to that place between sleeping and awake, between this world and the next. He grants us a perspective that looks out at this world and says” There is something more; another world is possible.”
It is living in between that we find a vision of Life itself.
It is in that place that we are now living. And it is here where we will continue, awaiting the new world to come.