'Cause a heavenly party don't stop.
It’s hard to get a fix on heaven. We’re told over and over that it’s better than anything we could conceive of, and that’s wonderful and everything, but sometimes it’s nice to have a concrete image of this place we’re walking towards.
My kids’ favorite picture of heaven is the wedding banquet described in Matthew 22. Of course, since my kids have never actually been to a wedding banquet, they’ve swapped out certain unfamiliar images, like a bride and groom and a formal dinner, with things they understand–namely, parties around here.
With a family of eight, it’s pretty much an instant party anyway (just add cake!), and I really do love our celebrations. However, if heaven is One Big Party, as it is in the minds of my children, there are some things that happen at celebrations around here that I sincerely hope we can skip in eternity:
The inflatable pool.Every summer we get one of those ridiculous rectangular things that is big enough for all six kids to pack in, side-by-side like sardines, and have the water come up to their navels. Within five minutes of filling it up, the water is muddy and full of grass and the kids stand on one side, pushing the wall down with their feet so the dirty water can drain out, eroding half our backyard in the process, and driving our water bill to astronomical levels with constant refilling.
I’m hoping that the pool in Heaven is one of those in-ground, salt water, infinity edge deals that is always crystal clear.
The Never-ending Cake. We have a birthday season around here. Back-to-back birthdays, then another one two weeks later, then another one. And another one. All requiring cake. So much cake. By the last birthday in September, I never want to see another cake again. But then it’s Thanksgiving (pies!) and Christmas (cookies!). It’s not even that I get tired of eating cake. It’s that I would have to run from here to Ohio, twice, just to work off the caloric intake of frosting alone. Guys, I’m too old to run to Ohio and back. So hopefully Heaven’s got some sort of calorie-free cake thing worked out. Otherwise, my glorified body is going to need the metabolism of a hummingbird.
Decorations. There’s a lot that can be done with a roll of crepe paper streamers and tea lights. But let’s face it–Pinterest is a cruel trickster, and Martha Stewart has a whole corporation behind her. Mere mortals–particularly this one–will have to make do with decorations of dubious quality until we reach our Eternal home, where everything will be tasteful and beautiful and not a single plastic tablecloth with Thomas the Tank Engine or My Little Pony to be seen.
Gifts. I am a horrible gift-giver. I so admire people who are able to give thoughtful gifts based on the interests of the recipient. My mother-in-law used to keep a list, and whenever a family member would mention liking something, she’d make a note of it, and come the next gift-giving opportunity, she’d have something unexpected and meaningful. I, on the other hand, am more of a “gift cards solve everything!” sort of giver, and it’s terrible. I’m hoping that in Heaven, all the gifts are spiritual, and no one ever expects anything handmade.
The Morning After. I came downstairs this morning, cringing. The house is still reeling from the after effects of our Father’s Day party: backlog of dishes, wrapping paper shreds under the couch, empty cans of Squeezy Cheese down by the fire pit. I have one day to get the house back in order before our back-to-back birthdays hit us, and things aren’t looking good. It is with weary hope that I raise my eyes to Heaven and give thanks that it is truly eternal, and the party will never end. No morning after, no digging out from the wreckage of watermelon rinds and empty bottles. Just a beautiful banquet, with all my loved ones taking turns sitting next to Jesus, and I don’t have to clean up afterwards.
Cari Donaldsonis the author ofPope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids, and Lived to Tell the Tale. She married her high school sweetheart, had six children with him, and now spends her days homeschooling, writing, and figuring out how to stay one step ahead of her child army. She blogs about faith and family life atclan-donaldson.com.