I grew up spending a lot of time in places that look like this picture. The rolling hills of the Smokey Mountains and a lake. We spent nearly every Saturday at the lake water-skiing and tubing, and we would usually take a few camping trips where we would stay out at the lake for several days.
This week Kevin was out of town with work, and I was having a bit of trouble falling asleep. I decided to use an app to put on some meditation type sounds to help me fall asleep, and I came across one option that was called "Rain on a Tent." I put that sound on and I was immediately transported back in time. Just like certain smells can sometimes transport us (Grandpa's cigars, Mom's detergent, or a former lover's perfume/cologne), this sound took me back to my teenage years.
It was so specific it was kind of creepy. I could feel the humid summer air by the lake, I could smell the piece of soft pink foam that I always used for a bed mat, and since I was running my ceiling fan, it even seemed like the breeze from the summer rain was gently drifting through the tent. Lying there in the dark with my eyes closed, it was so easy to be transported thousands of miles away and many years back in time. Best of all, it was a beautiful, sweet, and joyful memory that brought me to a place of peace and comfort that put me to sleep in no time. I even woke up the next morning with sound still playing in the room and had to remind myself where I was...I was still transported even in my sleep.
All week I've been thinking about that experience, and the many memories of those times at the lake that came back to me because of it. It has caused me to think of sweet memories with my family and with friends that hadn't come to my mind in years. It has me thinking about the fullness of time in which God lives and where we will all one day reside. What is the "Rain on a Tent" sound in eternity? What sounds or smells cause God to suddenly transport back through time? Does that distinct smell of summer rain transport God back to when the planet was still young? Does the sound of our worship transport God into the heavenly presence of angels? Does the smell of every new baby remind God of Jesus? Does the sound of a hammer striking a nail still send shivers up God's spine?
I have no idea if eternity contains experiences like these, but I do know that key sounds and smells and tastes are powerful. They are so hard-wired into us that I like the thought of us wistfully being transported to and from the heavenly realm by them. It even makes me wonder if that has something to do with the way that our loved ones can sometimes seem to reach out to us through things that once meant a great deal to them. Who knows? For now, I'm going to enjoy the memories that are coming back to me while being a bit more aware of old friends or dear family members who may try to drop back by from the other side for a brief visit.