As I got in the pool, I spoke to my lovely friend, Pat. She introduced me to her friend Tracie. I inquired about the whereabouts of our sweet friend, Shirley. Pat told me that Shirley and family had traveled to the Houston area to attend funeral services for her niece. I inquired about the niece and was told that the young lady had been quite ill for several years.
I said that in my faith such a passing was something that I pretty much viewed as a blessing. I told the ladies that I believe that “absence from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5: 8) means that when a Believer passes from this life he or she immediately enters into Heaven. My friends are LDS and I wasn’t certain of their beliefs about the afterlife.
The ladies quickly replied that they do believe that “absence from the body is to be present with the Lord” does indeed mean that the person immediately enters into the presence of the Lord, but they did not view that presence as occurring in Heaven proper, but rather in “the spirit world” where the person “continues to improve until perfected.” I found their comment and belief quite interesting, but still I prefer my own belief as I see it as being “that a Believer is made perfect in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
None of my rambling is meant to slight these dear ladies in any manner. I am extremely fond of each one of them and greatly enjoy their company in the Pool. I love their willingness to share their beliefs and openly discuss them with me. I always appreciate their kind, cordial willingness to listen to me as share my faith . . . and I genuinely believe they give me a fair hearing.
I chuckle and often think that typically LDS ladies and evangelical Baptist Sunday school teacher dudes don’t often become dear friends . . . but that sure has been our story. I don’t know that much will ever really change for any of us about any of our beliefs as we go forward in time, but I do think that our kindness and respectful regard to and for each other models the Master’s command to “Love you one another.”
I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that the Lord is not pleased when folks are rude and caustic with one another. I am glad . . . I really do like my sweet friends . . . I really do like their kindness and gentle nature. I know they love me . . . and I sincerely appreciate that.