It is obvious that this passage holds a lot of meaning for us and I am no exception. The more that I have thought about it though, the more I have realized that my personal interpretation of the scripture has evolved over time.For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Originally, I thought of this phrase in a modern context of glass. Sort of like what it would be like looking through a piece of clear glass that has had a heavy window tint applied to it. I was viewing things in a dim and hazy way. I could make out what was on the other side, just not clearly.
At some point in time, I came across the explanation of the words taking into account an ancient context. The reference to glass is most likely a mirror (a looking glass if you will). Ancient mirrors were a hand polished piece of metal. If you have ever looked at your reflection in a piece of metal, like the doors to an elevator for example, you can sort of make out that the reflection is a person but the reason that you know it is actually you is because the reflection is following your movements, in other words, even harder to see clearly. Also, elsewhere in the bible, the word for darkly is used not to mean an absence of light like we use it now, but rather an enigma or a puzzle. So, in addition to Paul saying that we see a really poor image of things, he is also telling us that we are looking at a puzzle and may not see how all of the pieces fit together yet.
Recently, my thoughts on this scripture have begun to change yet again and I wonder if Paul was really telling us that we have no idea what things really look like "on the other side of the veil" (to use the church phrase)? Maybe he wasn't telling us that we can only glimpse a partial view of heaven. Maybe he was telling us that what we know of heaven is simply a reflection of us on this side. We are all finite creatures trying to describe the infinite and we simply can't convey the infinite in our capacities here. So, every time we try to describe the infinite, we put some sort of limitation upon it through our language and thus turn it into a reflection of ourselves in the finite realm. Because of these failings, we won't truly have the answers to the questions until after we move on from this finite existence.
So, that's where my musings have arrived at lately. My question to everyone else here is, what does the scripture mean to you?