No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy!
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . .
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . .Fra Giovanni
|One of my eldest son's hundreds of sunset photos.|
This present little instance - it's all we really have, isn't it? This instant, with the rain falling softly on my head while I remove soiled sheep bedding from the pen to mulch my growing vegetable plants. This moment, as I listen to the bell-shake song of the fretful little house wren; duck as the anxious barn swallows swoop close over my head, warning me away from their nest with sharp cries; trudge through the now steady rain with my loaded cart, thinking ahead to warm, dry clothes and a mug of hot tea when my chore is done.
I am not sure I believe earth obscures my heaven. I would more readily say that my attitude about earthly doings, specifically human doings, threatens my joy. As for meaning and purpose, I think we supply our own and that muddies our innate urge to understand and accept what is true - that we are merely part, not the end-all, be-all, of the vast and unknowable universe. Actually, thinking that makes me feel far safer and happier than assuming, even for a millisecond, that I am more important than any other being or thing on this earth.
The mulching, the rain on my head and shoulders, the hot tea and dry clothes are in my immediate past now. Look how quickly those moments were lived and yet, I know when I look back on my day as I lie waiting for sleep, I will think what a long, quiet, peaceful time it was. I don't believe we waste moments by being idle, by filling them with gentle thought rather than frenetic activity. Activity suggests a purpose, yes, but if one's purpose is to cherish each moment, there must be that delicate balance between doing and being.
My next bit of doing is to re-hang the family photo gallery I removed so that I could paint my bedroom wall. I've grown accustomed to saying goodnight to my children and grandchildren as my gaze wanders over those beloved faces. Knowing they love me too spreads peacefulness over me like a quilt.