The Kingdom of Heaven can be experienced within our emotions. These experiences can sneak up on us. They often are hiding in plain sight just around the corners of our lives. Experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven emotionally changes us forever.
The photo above is from Elaine’s side of our dresser in our bed room. It carries huge emotion every time I look at those racing cars. Years ago we were in one of those places in life where relationships get tested and strained. Being self-employed means that there are times when regardless of efforts the results can be unpleasant. We were in one of the turbulent times in 1992. Our fourteenth wedding anniversary was looming and I was having trouble celebrating our union.
During that time I had a very vibrant dream of being a race car driver. I initially was in a yellow race car driving on the Indianapolis 500 race track. It is an oval where the driver has their foot all the way to the floor board and the steering wheel cranked turning left four corners two straightaways repeat for 500 miles fast as one can. The scene in the dream changed to a red race car but now I am on a grand prix circuit course which requires the driver to turn left AND right move up and down on the road to shift gears constantly brake a great deal shifting gears often. Altogether the grand prix courses require much more from the driver.
Waking up it occurred to me that I had become the first race car driver in my marriage relationship I had gotten into a rut of foot to the floor two hundred miles an hour and turned a constant right. My relationship with my beloved had yellowed. Not an easy revelation to experience, then again sometimes experiencing bubbles of the Kingdom of Heaven are uncomfortable. (PAUSE……let that idea sink in for a minute.) I also knew I needed to become the other race car driver becoming more actively present in relating to Elaine. My marriage requires more of me than I was giving it. And I needed to be passion red hot for Elaine. The yellowing was eroding the quality of our connection. God in Heaven wanted something different and something more from me. How?
I went to the toy store, remember money was really tight, I paid four dollars plus tax for those two cars I painted the number fourteen on the cars to signify our anniversary. The day arrived we shuttled off the kids to some friends had a simple quiet meal. I got down on my knees in front of Elaine and told her the story. I asked her to forgive me for allowing our relationship to yellow. Further I pledged to be the red car guy to be more attentive to be more present and to be more passionate and intentional about her. You guessed it the Kingdom of Heaven came in bubble form to attend the celebration of our fourteenth year of marriage.
Years later our house was broken into with thieves stealing virtually anything of value from the electronics and jewelry all the way down to our kid’s toys. They also completely trashed the house everything was in disarray. I gathered my family together in our bedroom in a huddle trying to console them. I was not successful until I looked on the dresser where those two race cars sat undisturbed as if they were glued to the surface of the wood. Amongst the total destruction of the vandalism and theft of our “stuff” these two items stood out. The elements of your life that the Father gives to you endure, the other stuff is just well stuff. And my kids within that huddle experienced a peace that passes all understanding as the bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven surrounded us. My human, husband, father failure to protect and care for my family making me feel awful was replaced with the Father greater than I could ever be. The Kingdom of Heaven is closer than we believe. Close when we need it most.