There’s a man who has been a leader on both of my Salkehatchie mission trips. He’s a retired navy fighter pilot. He’s completely white-headed and a force to be reckoned with. He’s tough as nails, just as you would hope one of our soldiers would be. He loves Jesus and he loves working with and sharing his faith with teenagers.
The kids have a deep respect for him as do I, even if they are a little intimidated by him at first.
On our last trip, we were finished up on our work site and we were headed out for milkshakes at a local restaurant called Rush’s. We were in three different vehicles. As we loaded up, he said, “I’ll see you at Rush’s or I’ll see you in Heaven.”
I kind of laughed and I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because he went on to explain that he always tells his wife that when he leaves home. He tells her he will see her when he returns or that he will see her in heaven.
I thought about that statement long after we finished our milkshakes. I thought about the faith behind the words. I thought about the dangerous job he had has a fighter pilot and then as a commercial airline pilot. Those are both jobs that I would think, would take great faith to engage in everyday.
But, I also thought about how we are never certain which day on earth will be our last. We could all go at any time. No one knows when tragedy will strike. But, my friend’s words are such a beautiful reminder that none of us are permanent residents here. We are all just travelers.
When he says confidently to his wife, when he leaves the house, that he will see her when he returns or he will see her in heaven, it serves as a daily reminder who he is, who he belongs to and where he is headed. It reminds him to make his days count, to make his actions count, to make his words count.
It reminds him to tell the ones he loves that he loves them.
The words are not morbid or pessimistic. They are a promise that when we belong to Jesus, something better awaits us. If we don’t make it back to our earthly home, today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year, we are assured and our loved ones are assured, that we will see them again. We will one day be reunited.
They are words of hope that I feel blessed that he shared with me and I felt led to share here. See you next time or I’ll see you in heaven. I think those are words worth repeating.
Have an awesome day!