We have a box of “My Little Pony” toys that wait for guests. Two of the toys that are there inspired a song “The Pony and Elephant” (to the tune of the Holly and the Ivy) that we sang to the kids. The kids are now adults and not just grownup, but most excellent adults. They are sparkling company and interesting thinkers. They are loving and if they were actually children again we would miss the adults they have become.
The problem is not the good times that exist, but a great good that is gone. When I see some small thing they once used, some cup, an old sweater, a discarded book, my heart hurts. One good comes, but then another good goes. The days of reading books to children is over (as it was), but brilliant book discussions are possible. Things are as we hoped, but there remains naggingly the loss, the missing child, the ghost that remains in sacred memory.
That it is necessary does not take away the loss.
One reason that philosophers*assume God is outside of time is this loss that comes with time. God experiences all events now. He never loses the good of our childhood or the joys of maturity. All that is good is exalted and the broken is experienced as whole at the end of all things. God has all goods simultaneously and knows our evils only with the greater corresponding redemption He brought. God never loses, God is good awash in goodness.
What of the end of time?
Allow a moment of speculation. As we are now the old order must change to bring in the new. Children become adults so grandchildren can come. The My Little Pony toys will be played with again in a new way with new children. This will be delightful in new ways. What of the old joys? Are they lost to us forever?
What if a great joy of paradise is that all mourning ends? What if we have access to all the good of the past? What in the time after time we can dip into a redeemed experience of our lives? Nothing that was good is lost, all that was bad is redeemed. We can stand at Bethlehem, at the empty tomb, at the Ascension, and at the glorification of all things. We need not revisit any pain or evils, but even those times would be seen in the light of a timeless eternity putting them into a context where nothing good, true, or beautiful is lost or forgotten.
No good experience will be lost and so the joys of childhood, the excitement of youth, the accomplishment of maturity, and the wisdom of gold age will be directly accessible. This is not to be stuck in the past, trapped in mere memory. When this present time is done, when the last page is written, and the book of the cosmos is bound, then we can access any page. We stand outside of this present time and so can access any moment, any point, that we desire. We also see the entire context of that story as we hold the book of our times in light of the glory of heavens.
The Last Judgement, the Day of Doom, will show us what was damnable. Damnation will result or redemption accepted. If that is possible, then there is no reason to think that the good cannot be equally known. The joys of birth all through the last wisecrack of a grandparent will be accessible to the glory of God and the merriment of His people.
The My Little Pony Toys were fun, are sometimes fun, and will be fun again. New good times are coming in this age and mayhap in the Last Day all the old goods, all the joys, will wash over us in the timeless eternity to come.
*See Boethius in Consolation of Philosophy.