On Saturday, I experienced a little piece of heaven.
I got to meet one of my online classmates face to face. Lalla and I met via the Internet last summer, when we were assigned a group project with a few others in an online class in educational technology. Our online conversations about the project eventually broached more personal subjects, and we discovered we had a lot in common; we were both brilliant, beautiful, and blessed (although we put the most emphasis on the fact that we were both believers, students slightly over traditional age, and had a bunch of children).
Since that time, we’ve been in other classes together and developed a friendship via email, encouraging one another through real as well as school life. I would count her as a dear friend just by what we have developed online. But this weekend, Lalla was chaperoning a school field trip that just happened to stop in my city for dinner–and we met each other face to face for the first time.
My 15-year-old was a bit nervous for me.
“What if you don’t like each other?” he asked, as I prepared to meet Lalla at the designated restaurant.
I honestly wasn’t worried, and I had no cause to be. The meeting was simply like being reunited with an old friend rather than meeting someone for the first time. Other than the fact that I am tall and Lalla is tiny, I think our meeting held no surprises.
Lalla introduced me to her fellow chaperons and some of her students, explaining how we had met online and were meeting for the first time face to face.
“But you shouldn’t meet with strangers you meet online,” she advised her students. “I went to her school website and checked her out. She was who she said she was.”
I, of course, admitted that checking up hadn’t even crossed my mind. But since Lalla was accompanied by a bus full of teens and parents, I felt rather safe.
Our time together was short (middle school students + restaurant + long bus ride home = fast dinner) and ended with a quick hug, a photo, and a sprint through a heavy downpour, she toward the bus, me toward my car.
But as I sat in the protection of my car, mopping up the rain with a towel I had handy, I couldn’t help reflecting on my friendship with Lalla and smiling. I thought our meeting a tiny picture of what heaven will be like.
The Bible says in I Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” The author is comparing the imperfect knowledge of God we have on this Earth to the perfect clarity in vision and understanding we will have when we finally see Him face to face.
Here on Earth, I can get to know God and Christ through the glories I see in creation, the actions of His people, and what I read and hear from the Word of God, the Bible. But just as my astigmatism distorts how I see with my eyes, my own sin and misunderstandings cloud my view of who God truly is. One day, when I see Him face to face, all that clouds and distorts my view of Him will be gone, and I will know Him fully.
Similarly, I have gotten to know Lalla through her creative projects and actions in our classes together and from what I read and hear via our emails and comments in class forums. But now I have finally met her face to face, and while I can’t say I know her as I will know God when I see Him face to face, I must say what a joy it is!
Finally face to face. A tiny picture of heaven.