Heaven Off Highway E

Recently, my sister sent me a link to a real-estate listing. Because neither one of us is house hunting, I was curious. I clicked on it and saw a picture of a small white house with black shutters sitting between a field and a pond. Immediately, I recognized it as the ranch that my paternal grandparents lived in when we were growing up.

My grandparents have been gone for many years. I hadn’t seen it since I was a teenager when my Granny was in the kitchen and my Pa was sick in bed.

Each photo in the gallery brought with it memories I didn’t even know I still had: picking apart cattails by the pond, the smell of fish food in a container by the dock, the sound of our station-wagon tires turning onto the gravel driveway from Highway E…

By the time I clicked to the last photo, tears were rolling down my cheeks and I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t exactly sad, but I wasn’t happy either. Sometimes tears are mysterious. 

I’m a crier. Just about every emotion: sorrow, happiness, anger, frustration … comes out of my heart and soul in (sniff) salty drops.

Regardless of the reason for our tears, there will be none in heaven. God promises to wipe away every one of them once and for all.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

This fascinates me. I can’t even watch someone win the Showcase Showdown without tissues, so how will I be able to experience the ultimate joy of being in God’s presence without falling on the floor in a puddle of emotion? I can’t even imagine.

I loved the time I spent on the country ranch, but I have fond memories of my mom’s parents, also. In fact, the older I get, the more I remind myself of my more-urban, maternal Granny. She was a teacher, a writer, and a big time crier. I remember her telling me about when she stood blubbering at her first sight of the Rocky Mountains. She laughed as she told me this story, and I nodded my head, understanding completely, my throat closing up just at the thought.


Even if you aren’t a crier, you’ve probably experienced a stirring of emotions when a bit of nostalgia or a touching story crosses your path. I bet you’re occasionally moved by extraordinary beauty or deep truth. If you pay attention…

Whether or not tissues are needed, these moments remind us that things aren’t the way they should be. They are the echoes of the Creator calling His creation home, and our soul leaps at the hope and groans in the waiting. 

He made everything to hear His voice. Even that old country pond and those snow-capped mountains are responding to His call and crying out for the new heaven and the new earth.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8: 22-23

If you’re a stoic, pay close attention to those subtle soul-stirrings and let them remind you of what’s to come. Even if you don’t allow them to spill over, let tears blur your vision so you can remember that things won’t always look this way.

And you, Crybaby, you won’t even recognize yourself in heaven without your splotchy face or quivering lip. You’ll be united with gravel and grandparents, and clapping your hands with the trees of the field. Just thinking of it makes me… oh, never mind.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

My mysterious tears are liquid longings for a season with no death, a time when kids can explore free and safe, and a place where families can live together -in perfect health- forever.

How long, O Lord? How long?

21 thoughts on “Heaven Off Highway E

  1. Beth Willis Miller January 27, 2015 / 5:37 am

    WOW! Such powerful writing! I was right there with you, crying over the photo of your grandparents house, and the Rocky Mountains, just remembering my own experiences at similar places. It seems we fill up with our heart-felt emotions, and just like water filling a bucket, it just has to slosh over in tears. My bucket overfloweth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Candace January 27, 2015 / 5:39 am

    Beautiful! I’m a cryer too. I remember after my grandparents died, I bought their house from my mom. I couldn’t stand the thought of it going to anyone else. My grandparents were incredibly special to me and their house was filled with precious memories. When I finally had to let the house go to move closer to my job, I cried for a long time. This really touched me this morning! Blessings to you!


  3. Laura Marie Scoggins January 27, 2015 / 9:01 am

    I love this! I am a nostslgic crier myself. Something that most people don’t know about me. What a beautiful thought…that we are actually longing for a place with no death. What a day that will be!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mama's Empty Nest January 27, 2015 / 9:44 am

    I’m a crier too and sometimes I truly marvel at the little things that can bring me to tears, so I’m glad to see I’m not alone. I grew up in the same house where my grandparents lived for many years and when my parents passed away and we had to sell that house, I was a blubbering mess. I can’t even imagine what I will be like when I come face to face with my Savior in heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. betsydecruz January 27, 2015 / 11:04 am

    Oh what a beautiful post, Karen. You brought back memories of my childhood visits to my grandma and papa’s country house. We went fishing, caught crawdads, cooked, crafted, and slept sometimes on a screened back porch. I do miss them. And yes, those longings are echoes of the Creator calling us home. Beautiful.


  6. Ruth January 27, 2015 / 11:08 am

    ‘They are the echoes of the Creator calling His creation home, and our soul leaps at the hope and groans in the waiting.’ It is such an awesome thought to think everything was created by God and it yearns for the new heaven and new earth! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! I too am a fellow ‘crier’ :’). God bless 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lynette January 27, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    Such beautiful sentiment, I am also a crier – always have been. Cleanses the soul, I believe. Since losing my oldest son three years ago I find myself asking, “How long, O Lord?” a whole heck of a lot. Knowing that God will see me through til the day There will be no more tears is what makes me smile. God bless you, Karen.


  8. Abby January 27, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    Amen, sister. They are echoes of our Creator calling us home. I remember the first time I realized that. I used to think there was something wrong with me. 😉 Oh, and I cry for no apparent reason, too. I’m with you. I’m so grateful that I have that hope in my heart, of my eternal home. Loved your words and having you at #RaRaLinkup today.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anne Dahlhauser January 28, 2015 / 7:54 am

    So beautiful. Thank you for this post. I have always tried to be the stoic one. In face of tragedy when I was younger, I remember intentionally telling myself “be stoic, be stoic, be stoic.” That word has rolled through my head often. Yet, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to realize how the unreleased and unexpressed emotions end up hurting me inside – muscle tension, stomach issues. I’m learning how to step into that vulnerable place of expression. Posts like this one give courage and purpose to that end. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Melody Hester January 28, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    I love this. I’m not a crier but my very good friend who is new in the faith is a total crier and she hates it. It prevents her from sharing sometimes because the tears overwhelm her. Her husband is the same way. I love the tenderness they both have and keep reminding them it’s totally okay to cry. In fact I wish I was little more tender than I am. You’d pretty much have to be dying in front of me for me to cry. But I am a very compassionate person – I just don’t cry very often. Love this post.


  11. Being Woven January 28, 2015 / 1:30 pm

    “My mysterious tears are liquified longings for a season with no death, a time when kids can explore free and safe, and a place where families can live together -in perfect health- forever.

    “How long, Lord? How long?”

    These few sentences say it all! I am a crier and the majesty of God, the memories of the loved ones He has given to us, do bring those liquid longings to my eyes as well. I have been thinking a lot about my Mama as Friday, 1/30, she will have been gone from this life two years. I cared for her for 15 years and I miss her so and still. Yet, she is one “in perfect health” now and with the LORD. So, I ask, “How long, O LORD?” for myself.

    I came from Meredith’s and so blessed that I did.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    Liked by 1 person

  12. sarahgirl3 January 28, 2015 / 3:05 pm

    What a sweet house and story! It is hard for my sister and I to see our grandparents’ house and not cry too. So many fun times!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. dewittjenni January 28, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    My son asked me the other day, “So moms cry even when they are happy?” He thought that was strange. Some days I can hardly get through reading their children’s devotional about God’s love for them without springing a leak. Heaven will be full of mysteries — apparently including moms who don’t cry when they are happy! 🙂 Thanks for your post today. You are my neighbor on Holly’s linkup, and I’m glad I found you!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Meredith Bernard January 28, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    And you’ve done it again, Karen. Would you believe just looking at that photo of the Rockies has me choked up? I’m not even kidding. I’m definitely a crier at ALL the things. ALL THE THINGS. I love that you are, too. And I’ve never ever thought about the fact that because we won’t be crying in heaven means I won’t be CRYING IN HEAVEN. Duh. I mean, I thought I got it…but I never thought about it like this. What will I be doing?! Singing? SHouting? Fainting? What a mystery. Yes, how long, Lord? How long? Can’t wait to be there together…and see how we both react. 😉 Love you sister! Your words never fail to move me…even to tears. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anita Ojeda January 28, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    “Liquified Longing”! Yes! Thank you for giving a name and purpose to my mysterious tears! I’m hoping my tears will be turned into a pleasing singing voice when I get to heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kristin Hill Taylor January 28, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    This is beautiful. Oh, and I’m a crier too. So thankful God hears our desires and dries our tears. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Kelly Balarie January 29, 2015 / 10:38 am

    Thank you that you make tears ok. Sometimes the purge is where our greatest healing is. I love your heart on this point. I am blessed and maybe need a good cry! 😉 Keep going in the awesomeness that is you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jennifer M. Frisbie January 31, 2015 / 2:01 pm

    “sometimes my tears are mysterious.

    I’m a crier. Just about every emotion: sorrow, happiness, anger, frustration … comes out of my heart and soul in (sniff) salty drops.”

    Karen – I know what to expect if you and I ever meet. I’m a crier, too. And your imagery always just gets me “right here.” I love it. I always feel like I’m sitting right next to you as you’re telling a story. That’s one of my favorite things about your blog. And your encouragement, of course!

    Maybe we will meet up some day and cry together, eh? (entirely possible – don’t you live in St. Louis?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown January 31, 2015 / 3:04 pm

      Yes! Are you in St. Louis? Thank you so much for your kind words. They spur me on and mean so much.


      • Jennifer M. Frisbie January 31, 2015 / 10:16 pm

        Actually, I’m in Jefferson City. But I come to St. Louis every few months to do a little shopping and have tea. 🙂


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