All of us want to get to Heaven when we die. But none of us wants to go right away (unless we are very sick or very depressed). Why don’t we try to make our spot on earth right now a little more like Heaven? What would it take?
I know what it would take for me—more patience, a more even keel to my days, less self-manufactured stress. Of course, I need to also feel love for God, for others, and for myself, because if I can’t feel any love for myself, I can’t feel nearly enough for others, nor even for God Himself.
I think of what I could do or say that would make “Heaven on Earth” for my husband Paul. He and I spend the vast majority of time alone together, just the two of us, and so I make a real difference in his experience of his days (as he does in mine). I know many of his needs and wants, for we have known each for 30 years, and we have been married for 28. Couldn’t I meet more of his needs and wants?
I think of that morning, a while back, when I started worrying, aloud, about a very minor and inconsequential health problem. (As I write this, two months later, I cannot even recall what the problem was, so minor was it.) But I polluted the air by complaining. Paul doesn’t like to hear me complain. (Who does like to hear complaints?) Couldn’t I have handled my worry differently? Couldn’t my own choice have put my life more on an even keel? Wouldn’t I have minimized the stress if I had had half a mind to do so?
At noon that day I attended a prayer meeting, a habit of mine of some months’ duration. Eleven of us—many of us strangers, for this was a big turnout—sat in a friend’s living room and quietly prayed and meditated. Then the hostess, our leader, read an inspirational piece, not once, but several times, to get the words in our minds. We talked together, sharing. My health worry evaporated. The morning I had rued was over.
After my prayer meeting, the day went smoothly, and is that any wonder? In the evening, I cooked a good meal for Paul—recipes I had made up, cooking in the Mediterranean style, olive oil and garlic. Paul and I chatted over dinner. We enjoyed talking about last Saturday’s college football game.
Paul remarked, gently and with humor in his voice, “I had a bad morning because I made the mistake of warning you about your health.”
I responded, “I’m sorry I complained so much.”
“It’s OK,” Paul concluded.
We grinned at each other.
All was well.
Is this not a little Heaven on Earth?
A usual day in my world, though not all days have mornings that I spend in a low mood.
All of us influence each other so tremendously in our daily run. It behooves us to try not to influence each other badly. Of course, venting a bad mood is therapeutic from time to time, and this day in my life was certainly not typical. I didn’t need to make an issue out of something that was so minor I would forget the topic in a couple of months.
What helps rather than venting? My day does illustrate what helped me: prayer. Being with others also was a good thing, being with even strangers in the prayer group.
I also recommend writing when stressed and out of sorts. I keep a daily journal, but then I like to write. Others might want to turn to a journal to dislodge bad feelings only occasionally.
The means are many, and certainly talking to our nearest and dearest can work wonders. But not if we give that person a bad morning.
I learned from my experience two months ago. I haven’t had a bad morning like that since, and I wish the same for all of us. We need to treat ourselves gently, not getting into a low mood just because it is easy to dip low. God is always there to listen to us in our minds. He is our best outlet in bad times.
And when we turn to Him, it doesn’t give Him a bad morning. He has heard it all, and He remains serenely untouched by our fussing. He loves us with an all-encompassing love that is unlike anything on Earth—even what we experience from our nearest and dearest.
He will be there if we drop into a low mood today. He wants Heaven on Earth for us all.
Why not seek His counsel when we are troubled? There is no better way.