I’m pretty sure if I had ever stopped to dream-up a “heaven” for Paul Warren, the first step would’ve been to include ‘endless rounds with Tiger at Augusta.’
If anyone I ever knew (besides my brother Brad, of course) would want that to be a fixture in their heaven, it’s Paul.
It’s easy to picture him cutting jokes with his dream foursome as he tallies-up his eagles and birdies around the Amen Corner, holding Tiger’s hand, or whatever it is he’d do if he had the chance… definitely grinning that infamous Paul Warren grin from ear-to-ear just to be there… just to do it once.
I think we all have our “heavens.” The places we go when we feel like life is at its purest and most blissful; moments when the imaginary wall between Heaven and earth seems so thin we feel like we could push through it if we just concentrated hard enough.
We never seem to be able to get those moments to stick around for more than a minute or two, but, when we’re there, we want to live in them forever. So, we log them away, and we hold onto them as our ever-evolving notion of “heaven.” We know it must be close, because it’s certainly the closest we’ve ever felt on this side of eternity… We just want to bask in that feeling… It’s something about God’s goodness that makes us feel like an ocean made warm by the sun.
But, as I’ve thought about this today, the realization strikes me that our “heavens,” our “Augustas,” will never hold a candle to the Father’s Heaven.
In all the beauty and allure that the Masters held for Paul… all the cherished memories and unforgettable moments spent on Augusta’s flawless lawns… none of it compares to the glory of Christ that surrounds him now… Not even close.
To know the face of God. To forget pain, doubt, and indifference. To live in the fullness of love, life, and redemption… Paul doesn’t need any kind of “heaven” I could dream-up for him.
He knows a Heaven that is far greater than any dream I will ever have.
I keep reminding myself that Paul is alive… as a matter-of-fact, he’s more alive than we’ve ever been. Even more alive than we feel in those moments that construct our “heavens,” even more alive than our imaginations can fathom.
I’ll never fully understand it… And, selfishly, I don’t even always like to think about it, because I’d still like to have him around… But I do know that my “heavens” are far too small… and no number of azaleas could ever change that.