Estes Echo

Transformed Through Christ

My dad grew up in eastern Kentucky and southern Indiana. I remember traveling from Oklahoma to visit dad’s family perhaps five or six times during my time at home. While we didn’t visit very often, those trips were always filled with fun and excitement. Primarily, I remember spending some amazing time with family – a rather large family as my Dad was the oldest of nine children. There was an abundance of aunts, uncles, and cousins, far more than existed in Oklahoma. I remember a distinctive connectedness to these people and to this location.

In November, I had a chance to visit one of the cousins that I had spent the most time with when I visited Indiana as a child. Our last visit had been in 1982, over 30 years ago. I arrived at his house on a Friday afternoon. The bond of family reconnected immediately. We talked, laughed, and cried as we recounted the memories of childhood, the passing of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and the development of our own families. The conversation was continuous and lasted until about 2:00 a.m. It began anew the next day and carried on throughout the weekend. The love, the transparency, the comfortableness, the joy, and the peace that filled my heart and spirit that weekend were transformative, a welcomed surprise.

In December, I had a similar experience when visiting a congregation in Atlanta. I was sitting in a pew waiting for services to start, when I heard a sweet voice behind me call my name. I turned around and quickly noticed a young lady and two children. It took me a minute to recognize her. She had changed a bit since our last visit about six years ago. But soon, I recognized her – the daughter of one the elders that shepherded the congregation back in Ada, Oklahoma. Again the connection was immediate, and the conversation continuous only slightly interrupted for worship. The same feelings of love, transparency, comfortableness, joy, and peace again transformed my heart and spirit.

Two reflections related to these two experiences. First, I wonder if my heart and soul are being rekindled with love, transparency, comfort, joy, and peace as I continuously reconnect with my Savior through daily meditations and prayers? If I can be transformed, if my heart and spirit can be changed, by a conversation with my earthly family and friends, how much more should they be transformed through my continuous interactions with Christ? Second, I wonder if these experiences perhaps provide us a glimpse of our homecoming in Heaven? If reconnectedness with temporal relationships can elicit such emotions, I can’t begin to comprehend all that will be experienced when we realize that we are forever in the presence of our God, our Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all the saints! May we continue to be transformed through our relationship with Christ so that we can indeed experience all that is promised in eternity.

–C. J. Vires