In our little piece of heaven, my husband and I often share an aperitif under the leafed canopy in our backyard before supper. On such an occasion I leaned back in my lawn chair and looked up beyond the lime-green interruptions at a perfectly blue sky. A sudden inundation of gratitude glowed within my being. I am blessed. As I thought about how heaven had come about, a few important ingredients came to mind.
Without these ingredients the many blessings so easily slip away. I remember a time when depression dogged my daily life. Fear had me in its deadly grip and heaven was far away. Even today, should I forget to name the good in each moment, I may awake to the old familiar fatigue draining all vitality from every step I take. Hence, being present is important.
Blessing instead of curse
Blessing instead of cursing is another of the ingredients. Rather than joining the throng criticizing government, church and spouse, I choose silence for the most part. Each negative thought and word dismantles the good around and within us, blinds us to the beautiful. Truth is, our world is far from perfect. Instead of criticism, however, a few steps in the direction of kindness and patience make a solid foundation for heaven on Earth. “Thank you” uplifts weary souls. A smile can do wonders for an overburdened spirit.
Gratitude is one of the ingredients
Another ingredient is gratitude. While everyone can decide to be grateful, the choice is far from unanimous. Maybe if we were more grateful, heaven would be closer.
Among the ingredients is the knowing that nothing belongs to me. All my comforts, my home, my family, everything belongs to the one who gave it to me. I do not own my spouse or any of the members of my family. My home is a borrowed dwelling where I am responsible for upkeep and beautification. Moving forty times in my life has taught me detachment. Although I must admit if a tornado blew through I would be upset for a while.
Sharing is among the ingredients
Sharing shows up among the ingredients. Although Covid-19 has put a damper on sharing, it is still possible. We look forward to new ways to share the wealth of our blessings. Every time we come together we ripple the goodness creating a larger space in which heaven may grow here and now. Walking in solidarity with those less fortunate moves us toward a better world. We can sign petitions, donate to charities, move beyond our comfort zones to include those outside our circles.
Peace is a blend of ingredients
A certain peace permeates our little piece of heaven because it does not depend on external measurements. Our home is not large, our family is imperfect, our community insular. Imperfections give us something on which to work and keep us humble. Remembering we are not alone and the whole is not our responsibility, gives us room to be the best we can be. I do not need to do it all and it is not about me.