Just Outside the Gates

Disneyland gates

A plaque at Disneyland’s main gate.

Yesterday, a colleague shared with me the story of a friend of hers who had a surprise in-store for her young girl.  I don’t know the age of the child, but I think she might have been somewhere between three and five years old—and she desperately wanted to go to Disneyland.

As the result of a clever scheme, the parents and child emerged from a Disney shuttle and into the parking lot—at which time the simple but triumphant announcement was made: “We’re at Disneyland!!”

The little girl rejoiced, and was fully present with the news that she had at-long-last arrived at this marvelous place about which she had only dreamed and heard.  She marveled at the topiaries that dotted the parking lot.  She delighted in the diversity of people who moved through the space.  She bathed in the great California sunshine from above.

Her mom kept telling her, “Dear, We’re not even inside yet.  This is just the parking lot.”  But the words fell on ears made deaf by the grandeur of the wonder around her—still outside the gates.

As my friend concluded this special story, I said, “You know, to me, that’s what heaven is—a place beyond the parking lot.”

Now, several hours later, as I reflect, I believe that the metaphor holds, no matter what your perception of heaven may be.  It’s so easy to focus on the here-and-now and all that it affords, or offers, or tempts.  A grateful heart fully embraces each piece of this experience.

But if we’re not careful, we might too-long dwell in this temporal parking lot just outside the gates, naively missing the fullness that awaits us—just inside.

5 comments for “Just Outside the Gates

  1. Lynne
    April 5, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Been thinking more of that place beyond the gates.

    • April 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

      “Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard” all that awaits us just inside. Thinking with you.

  2. sue
    April 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Trying to post.

  3. sue
    April 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    ANOTHER PROFOUND and POWERFUL metaphor painted skillfully with your words about Heaven. May I be keen moment by moment to keep my heart before the Lord…knowing THIS IS JUST THE PARKING LOT. I know you paint these word pictures for your kids all the time and it is what empowers them to face their futures with such hope and zest. Bless you for taking time to write. ..opening another glimpse into your amazing heart of compassion and understanding. BLESS YOU!!!

  4. Carla Heinecke, M.Ed.
    April 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    You made me think (AGAIN!) and immerse myself in the thought and the scripture you mentioned in your reply to one of your friends. Thanks!

    Not long ago I mentioned to my son, John Caleb, that I believe there will be rainbows in heaven. He told me it is in Revelation. Just think, there is a HUGE rainbow behind the Throne! I can’t wait to see the colors described and the fresh air and sunlight. No more dark, scary, lonely nights ever again will happen!

    Thanks for this. I think we are at the brink of understanding more of the BEYOND!

    Always one of your MANY fans of your writing, reflections, lists, and musing,

    Carla B. Heinecke, M.Ed.

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