I used to (kindly, I hope) make fun of my mother when she cried over, it seemed, every little thing. Now I find myself doing just what she did and still does. This afternoon I was out getting the mail, and a big truck from the tree farm on which we live pulled in our drive (which leads to the place where big trucks pick up trees to take them places). The driver stopped to talk to me, and it took me a minute to realize that he is the same man who plows our driveway when we get snowed in. I don’t know much about him at all, but by his looks, mannerisms and accent, I know he is from this area and most likely grew up on a farm. Where we live right now, and have lived for the past six years, is the area where I grew up. But for the time between ages 12 and 36 (excepting visits and four years of college nearby), I lived far from “home.” Part of that time was spent in a foreign country. So I can’t quite describe how it feels, now, to hear the accent of home. It is similar to whatever it is that the sense of smell does to you – like when you smell the perfume that your grandmother used to wear. Instantly, childhood emotions and memories are evoked. You can almost feel your grandmother’s soft shoulder under your cheek as she rocked you on the yellow rocking chair in her green and yellow kitchen. When I converse with someone who has this accent, I hear my own voice mirroring it, and I feel an odd acceptance, as if this person (who could be a stranger) must have known me as a child.
This led me to wonder about the language of Heaven. I don’t know what language we will all speak there, or if we will all speak the same language. I’m pretty sure we’ll all be able to understand each other’s languages, if there are different ones (all I know for sure is that there will be people there “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev. 7:9)). In any case, I think it will be a language that will allow us to fully communicate our thoughts with much greater depth than we are able to here and now. And it will be beautiful to listen to (like French, but better), and pleasurable to speak. And I think that when we first hear it (and I thrill to think of the One from whose mouth we will hear it), we will have that sense of “Home,” as we never have before. No matter if our earthly experiences of “home” were positive or negative, when we hear the language and accent of Heaven we will feel an instant sense of belonging and acceptance, knowing that we have always been known and loved.
(originally published four years ago)