A number of weeks ago, I got an email from Nester: "Swap Meet. August 8. My house. Can you come?"
Imagine how long it took me to respond to that invitation.
More recently I learned that Emily, Jen, and Kimba would be at Nester's house for the Swap Meet, too. As I was talking with a friend about the day, I said, "I'll think I've died and gone to heaven."
So this past Saturday was the day, and a couple dozen of us had the best time exploring Nester's Nest and swapping our stuff. What fun we had, trading treasures and swapping stories and becoming friends in real life just as we are online.
There I was, right in Nester's house, and did I get any photos? No. Because I didn't take my camera. Can you believe the degree of stupidity involved in that oversight? I did snap this rather pathetic pic with my iPhone just as I was leaving. Nester's beautiful front door, with a lovely foreground accent of my windshield.
Nester herself opened that door when I rang. And though this was the first time I'd ever seen her face-to-face, she called me by name and gave me a big hug.
You know, being there really was like being in heaven.
My thoughts about heaven often include grand ideas of the beauty of the place. I think about the pearly gates or the streets paved with gold or what I'll eat (never mind the calories) or how happy I'll be to see my mom again. Wonderful thoughts. But I have to stop and remember that the most important thing about heaven will be the time--plenty of time, never not-enough time--with God. And with people who love Him.
I heard Dallas Willard teach about heaven once. He summed up his remarks by saying "Anyone who plans on going to heaven had better be awfully fond of God." Good point, huh?
So the time at Nester's was heavenly. Not because her house was beautiful (although it was) or because the food was delicious (although it was). But because I was welcomed with love. And because of the time spent with people who love God.