I've had reason to think about relationships of late, with both family and friends, and it reminded me of a dream I had shortly after my father died. It was a strange but hopeful dream.
When he was in the hospital with his final illness, I worried about his destination. We had talked a bit about Christian faith, and I was not sure he accepted the gospel truth that we're saved through faith in Christ. I wrote to the chaplain at the hospital and told him. The chaplain talked to him and wrote back, saying that he "would have no problem admitting him to Communion." Relief.
The chaplain was Lutheran. I met him at the hospital later, and he asked what church I went to. PCA, I said, Presbyterian Church in America. He laughed. "I know the PCA," he said. "I thought from the way your father talked that it was one of the way-out Pentecostal groups." Well, the straight-up plan of salvation does sound pretty wild when you're not used to it.
Anyway, after my father died, I dreamed of his funeral. He was in his coffin, dressed in ranch clothes-- jeans and new flannel shirt that he never got to wear around his Montana property. (That part is real.) He was dead. Everyone knew he was dead. But he looked up at me and gave me a conspiratorial wink. I knew he was telling me that death is not for real or forever when you trust Christ.
This week, I thought about friendship, how it can be precarious because of anger or misunderstanding or argument. Sometimes it can be smoothed or retrieved, sometimes not. But for Christians, this bit of earthly life is not all we get. We look forward to eternity, first in Heaven, then on the new earth that God promises to clean up and restore. Unbroken friendships will continue even better. Broken friendships will pick up where they left off, rifts forgotten. Even the beautiful, beloved son who won't speak to me, who may never in this life, will greet me with a smile, and I will run to embrace him. May it be soon, Lord Jesus, may it be soon.