I actually have a day off from work where I'm not planning to go see Dad, or go with him to a doctor's visit (though I do need to call and check that all is, in fact, well with him at the moment). He has actually been home for about a couple of weeks now, trying to rebuild his strength and get enough food in him!
I took the most lovely walk this morning, up and down the driveway. The place has been transformed by the 6/10-inch of rain we got Saturday evening. It's like a whole different world out there, with hope literally growing up anew. The trees and plants have all revived somewhat, the dirt looks moist rather than bone-dry, and the greenery is vibrant, especially in the morning when it's not ungodly hot out yet. This walk was such a treasure to me, too, because I haven't had much extra space in my life recently. I know there are many other people who know exactly what I am talking about, probably few of whom would ever read this, but anyhow -- what a blessing! To be able to walk ... to have the day off work ... to not be at the side of a critically ill parent, because he's doing better! I pray that continues.
I am reading a wonderful book by one of the great spiritual mentors of my life, Scott Peck, called "In Heaven as on Earth." The book is about his vision of what heaven is like. So this is a theme in books I've read recently, I guess! I like to go into the library at times and just browse the shelves. It seems that whenever I do, a book sort of leaps out at me and it is just the book I need to read. That's how I found this one.
Of course, I love Peck, and he thinks so much the way I do (that's a major reason I love him). He has also influenced the way I think. Nonetheless, it is interesting how unique each person's vision of heaven is -- based on the books I have read -- and how mine differs from those of others. I am struck by how important the "place" aspect is. As in Jesus's statement, "I go to prepare a place for you." Everyone's idea of the construct of this place is quite different, to the point that heaven perhaps would need to be custom-tailored to fit each individual personality. Isn't it so amazing, the endless abundant diversity of creation?
As for me, I would require a verdant and lush place, much like Earth, I think. I'm not talking Hawaii here or any exotic locale ... something like my own yard in the early morning would be beautiful. Seeing, feeling, smelling the splendor of all that life makes me feel very close to God. (Oops, sounds like I would need my senses still to function to be able to appreciate it all.) I don't think this is a clinging need. It feels more like the essential need to be as near to God as possible. By God, I mean so much more ... please don't misunderstand and insert the Christian God here, limited by people's narrow views. I mean, I mean -- the universal creative potential that binds us all together. Something that is really beyond words and thoughts, that is inexpressible at its core. It is something I long for, very deeply, and I think we all do.
I mention "place" because my friend Karen is fond of saying that heaven is not a place, but a state of mind. Well, yes and no. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine existing without being somewhere! Perhaps that is just because I (like most other humans) am so locked into these mental constructs formed from my surroundings, ideas that are fixed and temporal, and probably not very accurate in describing reality. But I have to believe the evidence of my senses while I am living here in this body.
Here are some other ideas Peck's book gives me to think about. Try this one: what we see as our own greatest flaw, could be the very thing God is using to achieve His/Her purposes. That's what the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinth. 12:9 that the risen Christ told him: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." It's striking how often this message is repeated, I noticed while looking up this verse.
The character in heaven sees himself as quite impatient, and views that as a sin. But he is told that perhaps that is exactly how God wanted him to be, and behave, and it could be his greatest strength.
Another idea is that God's wish for our service is for us to do what we absolutely love to do. I've never been good at this. In fact, it seems like I have to feel like I am suffering in order to truly be serving God. The more, the better! In fact, I can't really be serving God unless it is quite painful. Anything that is not painful can't be serving God -- it has to be selfish and unimportant. This is one of my greatest life struggles, and I think it is because I have always assumed I know what God wants me to do -- it has to feel like work, and be time-consuming, and a great obstacle for me.
But yet God apparently led me to this new career, where everything just fell into place and feels (relatively) effortless, full of ease even.* (*It's still work -- note my delight at beginning of post about having a day off!) Could that be how it is supposed to feel to really be serving? And if this job really is the result of divine intervention, I have to admit I have no idea what God's plans are for me, after all. Why in the world would it serve God best for me to be a CPA and do tax work? Just because I enjoy it and seem to be good at it? I don't get it!
I am going to continue posting if I have time. I have a backlog of unexpressed thoughts that desperately need to be written down. However, so I don't bore you with one (just one) endlessly long and rambling post, I will draft additional posts with different subjects (still possibly endlessly long and rambling!) and try to come back and post one each day. How's that for an effort to be readable?