Everyone has their own idea of what heaven might be like. Mine is a sunny warm summer day, with all the windows in my home open, a soft breeze blowing, and sunlight streaming in from all angles. I’m standing in the kitchen, my favorite room in the house, puttering about, as I love to do. No cares, no worries, completely relaxed. I love that state of mind. Maybe working on a recipe, or re-potting a few of my plants. Or leaning on the sill of an open window, looking out onto the world below and about me. Listening to the birds, talking to the pigeons on the balcony, or watching the yellow jackets as they fly in for a visit and then out again. If our cat was still alive, she would have hopped up onto the sill and joined me, and we would have been looking out at the world together. A little slice of heaven—a world of sunshine and peace, a natural world, peopled by animals, birds, nature, living things. It’s what my heart seeks return to when I’ve managed to move myself far away from it, or when I’ve let the many negative distractions in the world move me away from it.
The priest at mass tonight talked about the necessity of moving ourselves ‘up’ and away from the dark cellar of depressing or sensational news stories that the media bombards us with, because it is the only way to find inner stillness and peace, both of which are needed for prayer. It’s hard to pray when your mind is full of anxiety and uneasiness, when your mind is stuck in the dark cellar. To leave the cellar means getting up and turning off the TV, or not starting the day by sitting down to breakfast with a newspaper full of depressing news stories. I don’t want to shut out the world, nor do I want to ignore social injustices and moral outrages. I simply want to choose how to let them into my heart and soul and how I want to deal with them. I don’t want to be lectured to or informed by the media that this is what I should be paying attention to, or else. I have realized that I cannot tackle all the injustices in the world; I’ve got to start small and accept that I will make a small difference. Mother Teresa also said something similar to that. You need to start at home or with the situations around you. Otherwise you will end up feeling depressed and defeated because you are not able to make the world into a better place. And that defeated feeling helps no one. So I am thankful for the little moments of heaven that are allowed me in this life. They restore my faith in my ability to make a difference in this world, however small it is.