Today is Jason's 29th birthday. So, in honor and rememberance of him, I thought I'd write a little bit about what I remember of our childhood together! :)
I remember playing outside with him and my sisters and his sisters all the time! We had a swingset and a sandbox in my backyard and a whole "lower level" back there that didn't have grass, but had just dirt, leaves and pine needles (from all of the tall trees). So sometimes we would take the pine needles and leaves and make small rows/piles in the outline of the layout of a house and pretend that we were actually in a house! :) We made borders for different "rooms" and had make-believe kitchens and bedrooms and bathrooms and we'd have so much fun!
We also had one of those long, flat hoses with tiny holes in it that was supposed to be a type of sprinkler, but my dad would put it out there so we could run around through the water on hot summer days. We had one of those "Slip-n-Slides" too that was awesome! We would run and slide on that thing for hours! There was a really cool see-saw thing in Jason's back yard that we loved... but it wasn't really a see-saw exactly. One person would sit on each end and we would alternately pull the handle bar in front of us and it would spin around! I don't know what it was called because I had never seen it anywhere before or since, but it was really cool! We also used to play a lot in our basements when the weather was cold or rainy and play "house" or create "haunted houses" or obstacle courses down there. We used to ride our bikes to our friends houses to play or to a little general store close by in order to buy candy.
And when we were young, Jason was pretty hyper and very energetic. I remember him always livening things up! He was the only boy on our street (there were a few more around the corner though) but he seemed to like it... at least he didn't seem to mind it. It was great to have him around because he got me interested in things that I probably normally wouldn't have been interested in otherwise. He liked rocks and there happened to be an older, retired man who lived at the end of our street who was a Rock & Gem guy. I don't know what his profession was, but he traveled all over the world to find rock specimens and he created these beautiful polished spheres that he also made wooden bases/stands for. He then would show them off and sell them at Rock & Gem shows. So we'd go over there a lot to watch him use the diamond saw in his garage to cut his rocks into spheres (or as close as he could get to a sphere) and then he would put them in the machine he invented that polished them into perfect spheres (which would take one to two months or more to complete). He used to give me and Jason some of the extra pieces that he cut off so we could create our own rock collections. I still have them to this day!
My favorite memory is of the red maple tree in Jason's front yard... which is still in that yard to this day. (His family no longer lives there, but my parents still live in the same house I grew up in so I see his old house all the time.) His little sister had this plastic toy picnic basket and his mom would make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for us and we'd put them in there and tie a rope around the handles... and then we'd climb that tree all the way up, as far as we could go (to what he called the "tippy top") and we'd hoist our lunch up there and eat it! :) I LOVED doing that! It was so fun to be so high up above everything and to see the street from a different perspective. It was amazing. :)
I would give anything to re-live some of those days! Our childhood was idyllic and so full of joy! Life back then was so simple and innocent. We didn't know the pain, suffering and sinfulness that this world was/is full of... we only knew joy and happiness! I hope that all children get to experience that... at least to some extent... because I hold those memories so close to my heart! And to know that heaven offers us a world completely free of pain, suffering and sinfulness... I know that Jason & Lindsay are experiencing that pure joy now and that we will too someday soon! I can't wait!
Happy Birthday Jason! :)
Billy Graham's website has a section for spiritual Q&A and it has an excellent description of heaven:
Heaven for the Christian will be a place of glorious life that will never end. Joy inexpressible, limitless peace, pure love, beauty beyond description—that's what heaven is. Greatest of all will be the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, with whom we will enjoy fellowship forever. Loved ones who have known and loved the Lord will be there. Revelation 21:2 says, "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
Mr. Graham has written: "Heaven will be a place in which its inhabitants will be freed from the fears and insecurities that plague and haunt us in the present life. No energy crisis there ... Free from the economic and financial pressures that burden us down here. Free from the fear of personal and physical harm ... No fear of personal failure ... Our relationship with Him will be intimate and direct. I'm looking forward to that glorious day of going to heaven.
"Heaven will be what we have always longed for. It will be the new social order that men dream of. All the things that have made earth unlovely and tragic will be absent in heaven. There will be no night, no death, no disease, no sorrow, no tears, no ignorance, no disappointment, no war. It will be filled with happiness, worship, love, perfection and other good qualities. Heaven will be a place to challenge the creative genius of the unfettered mind of redeemed man." Revelation 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
However, the Bible makes clear that there is only one way to heaven, and that is through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ who said, "I am the way ..." (John 14:6). Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross. God offers us the free gift of friendship with Him in this life and eternal life in heaven when we die if we will but turn from sin and trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved ..." (Acts 16:31).