Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Twins

Dear Friends,

I was listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” this morning. It’s a Country song and you won’t be singing it in church, but it’s about as Christian as it can be. It’s three verses about people going through hard times and then the chorus that goes like this: 

This is my temporary home, 

It's not where I belong, 

Windows and rooms that I'm passing through,

This was just a stop on the way to where I'm going,

I'm not afraid because I know,

This was my temporary home.

From the Ukraine to our own courts, we are being overwhelmed by news stories with the prominent themes of death and abortion, and I suppose that’s why this morning I began thinking about both the womb and our existence on earth as nothing more than our temporary homes. On my bookshelves is a parable on the transitions of life written by an internationally-known priest, Henri Nouwen. In “Our Greatest Gift ~ A Meditation on Dying and Caring,” he writes:

Twins are talking to each other in the womb. The sister said to the brother, “I believe there is life after birth.” Her brother protested vehemently, “No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling to the cord that feeds us.” The little girl insisted, “There must be something more than this dark place. There must be something else, a place with light where there is freedom to move.” Still she could not convince her twin brother.

After some silence, the sister said hesitantly, “I have something else to say, and I’m afraid you won’t believe this, either, but I think there is a mother.” Her brother became furious. “A mother!” he shouted. “What are you talking about? I have never seen a mother, and neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have. Why do you always want more? This is not such a bad place and we have all we need, so let’s be content.”

The sister was quite overwhelmed by her brother’s response and for a while didn’t dare say anything more. But she couldn’t let go of her thoughts, and since she only had her twin brother to speak to, she finally said, “Don’t you feel these squeezes every once in a while? They’re quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful.” “Yes,” he answered. “What’s special about that?” “Well”, the sister said, “I think that these squeezes are there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face-to-face!!!” 

Nouwen’s parable ends there, but allow me to continue the story for you...

After the twins had grown up, the sister went through her life believing that this world “womb” was just another temporary home and that death would simply be the transition to a new stage of existence unimaginable in this life. Her brother, as he did in the womb, went through his life doubting that it had any meaning or purpose and believing that death would simply be the end of his existence.

In the metaphorical parable, life outside the womb was beyond the twin’s capacity to picture and there were sensations from the outside that they could not comprehend. Sounds. Movements. Squeezes. Bright lights would sometimes light up their dark, safe space that hinted of the life to come. The brother closed his eyes and ears to the reality of another world and brushed off the signs as meaningless wishful thinking. His sister’s “evidence” that there was someOne bigger than them was because the Holy Spirit had given her the ability to see that they were immersed in God’s existence (the “mother’s womb” in the parable), and they were being supported, fed and nurtured in every way by their “Creator.” 

When she was still in the womb, the girl knew that as they continued to grow and develop, their existence and development made no sense unless they were meant for something more, by someone “bigger” in whom they were growing. And she knew that with the approaching end of their nine months in the womb, the uncomfortable “squeezes” were the sign that something wonderful was waiting for them. She was filled with a hopeful expectancy of a better world to come!


For the unbelieving world, the word “birth” can bring great joy while “death” brings fear. But for those whose hope is in Christ, our transition from our mortal existence on earth is simply another joyful “birth” into an unseen world that is only glimpsed by us in this life. “..No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 

I love my life. I love my temporary home on this Earth. I pray that through the grace of God, I’ll have a long and abundant life filled with His love and the love of others but I don’t fear death. Our souls were created to have eternal life. We simply transition from one world to the next, stepping over the threshold of the door that God is holding open for us. As believers, death has no victory 1 Corinthians 15:55 because all is well with our soul. For those who believe, what awaits each one of us is simply another birth into a better world. John 3:16; Rev 7:15-17; Rev 21:3-5   Amen?

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