Journal entry by Vicki Bunke
Grace: “But I won’t know anyone. I won’t know what to do or where to go.”
Me: “That’s only because you’ve never been there before. Kind of like when you were born. You didn’t know anyone, and you certainly didn’t know what to do or where to go. But you didn’t have to worry about those things because we were here to love you and guide you and show you what to do and where to go. You didn’t know us, but we had prayed for you. We loved you even before you got here. We had prepared your room with love and care and we were waiting for you to arrive. In fact, we couldn’t wait for you to get here. We wanted to welcome you home. That’s what Heaven is like, but so much better – 100 million times better – because it’s your forever home. Our home that we created for you and Caroline was only meant to be temporary. You will soon be in your forever home. And when we die, you will be there to welcome all of us.”
Grace: “I feel bad saying this because I don’t want you guys to die, but I can’t wait for all of you to get to Heaven. I will help get all of your rooms ready, just like you and dad did for me and Caroline.”
Heaven. I recently read an article that indicated that almost 80% of Americans believe in a place called Heaven. If that is true, why do we seem to only talk about Heaven at funerals? Why do we often focus all our attention on things that really aren’t that important? Why do we place our concerns on fleeting things, things that will fade as fast as a vapor, things that in five years will have little to no effect on our lives?
Following Grace’s second relapse and terminal prognosis, I watched her grow in the realization that there is so much more to life than our present circumstances. And I believe it was that strong sense inside of her that kept her moving forward. I think without knowing it, she began to feel homesick for Heaven. Like the homing instinct we witness in animals such as the salmon who make their way upstream with such determination or the barn swallows who return each year to their nest on our front porch, Grace began to understand that this same homing instinct resided within her and it was pulling her toward her forever home. She began to understand that regardless of the experiences she had, no matter how wonderful they were, they were just a glimpse of what was still ahead. Grace became homesick for a place she had never visited before, and that place was Heaven. She was wired that way. We all are. And that is because God put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
This Thursday, July 8th, not only will “WaveMakers,” a docu-series about Swim Across America premiere on Discovery Life, but the theme song from the series entitled “I’ll Take You Home” written by 3-time Grammy winner John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, SiriusXM and other platforms. A portion of each download is donated to Swim Across America.
The song, “I’ll Take You Home” is beautifully and lovingly written from the perspective of God talking to Grace. I love every word and will share with you what each line means to me (hence the title to this post is Part 1 – smile). But for now, I think the title speaks for itself. I can’t wait for all of you to hear it.
As I prepare to leave for Detroit in 2 days for the second stop on The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour, I am reminded that although Grace is home, I am not. And until I am, I will continue to honor her life by doing whatever it is that I am called to do. And for the time being, I have been called to swim in 14 open water events for Swim Across America in order to raise money for cancer research and share with others Grace’s story of hope and faith and love. I consider this a mission trip. A mission trip to share hope through grace. God’s grace/Grace. I hope you will join me.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18