Good Shepherd Shelter
In His poem, Birches, Robert Frost wonders if it might be nice to leave the stress and labor of this life, this weary earth, and climb up a forest birch tree towards an uncertain heaven. But he builds in an escape clause. When the climber in the poem reaches the thin treetop, the tree dips, giving him a playful return back to the forest floor.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Saint Paul spoke about being torn between his longing to be completely with God, and his passion to continue his ministry within the imperfect temporal world.
Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would be a positive gain. On the other hand again, if to be alive in the body gives me an opportunity for fruitful work, I do not know which I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and to be with Christ, and this is by far the stronger desire- and yet for your sake to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need. (Phillipians 1:22-24)
The Feast of the Assumption reminds us that we will, in a way, eventually get to have it both ways. Heaven does not wait for our soul alone, but for our physical body as well.
If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (1 Cor. 15:13–18).
It is comforting to know, that no matter how inconceivably wonderful heaven will be, it will in fact be familiar. God will be familiar. We were made in His image for life with Him in heaven. When we at long last arrive on heavens shore, we will not be strangers there. We will be home.