With condolences to Singing Owl, we have a beautiful and thoughtful Friday Five this week:
What is your idea of a heavenly (i.e., wonderful and perfect):
- Family get-together
- Song or musical piece
- You choose whatever you like-food, pair of shoes, vacation, house, or something else. Just tell us what it is and what a heavenly version of it would be.
- And for a serious moment, or what would you like your entrance into the next life to be like? What, from your vantage point now, would make Heaven “heavenly”?
What is my idea of a heavenly family get-together?
I remember when my ex’s grandmother passed away, in the fall of 2003. The whole family – his mother, his three sibs and their families, and our family – gathered in Connecticut for her burial next to her husband. At her request, we all went out for a nice dinner, paid for with money she’d left to her daughter. There were nine adults and six children between the ages of seven and eleven. We ended up with a room entirely to ourselves, and we had a great time. There were a few bottles of wine, there was good food, and there was a family together, enjoying each other. At the end of the meal, our server wished us a happy family reunion. My ex told her, “Um, we were here for a funeral.” The poor server looked like she’d been hit by a two-by-four, and she stammered an “I’m sorry.” But we smiled at her and told her it was okay. It was a time of heaven on earth.
What is my idea of a heavenly piece of music?
How could I possibly choose just one? There are so many wonderful ones! And there are some that touch me at some times in my life, but not so much at others. Perhaps, right now, the most heavenly is when I get to listen and watch while my fiance plays the slow movement from Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata. I’ve always loved this piece – even after studying it in music theory! – and it is amazing to watch his hands dance on the piano. The experience tends to be overwhelming for both of us, and we find ourselves unable to do much more than sit together in silence afterward. Pure heaven.
What is my idea of a heavenly gift?
A heavenly gift is one that is thoughtful, that belies an intimate understanding of what makes me tick. This Christmas, when my not-yet-fiance joined me on the 26th, he brought with him this book to be a gift for me… and Santa had also placed it in both our stockings, which were waiting for him to arrive at my apartment. The joy and laughter from that – we’re so perfect for each other! – was heavenly.
What is my idea of a heavenly _______?
I’ll pick vacation. And this is hard for me to answer. This week, I am visiting my fiance in Ontario where he lives. It is absolutely beautiful here (proof!), and though it has been a working week for both of us, I find vacation moments in the times I look out the window of our hotel room over the river, watching the mist as the water tumbles over the weir, watching the snow fall, watching the snow glisten on the ground as the sun shines in a deep azure sky. Strictly speaking, this week has not been a vacation, but it has been an escape, a retreat, a change of scenery. Of course, it helps that I’ve been able to spend so much time in his arms! But it has healed my jangled nerves, and strengthened me for the next few weeks, which will include closing on a house, moving to that house, cleaning my apartment, bidding farewell to the home I’ve had for the last nine months as I learned to be an individual again, and all the other stressors in the life of a professional and a parent.
So a heavenly vacation would be a retreat to a place of great beauty. It would include generous amounts of downtime – time to relax, to just be. It would include my beloved, and maybe my children. We would have a kitchen so that we could prepare some of our own meals – perhaps some special things that aren’t in the normal rotation – but also the freedom to go out to eat when we felt like it. There would be walking, soaking up the beauty. And, I’m sad to say, it probably wouldn’t be on a cruise ship because I get soooooo seasick. Sorry, love!
Or, you know, it could just as easily be DisneyWorld. 🙂
And finally, what is my idea of heaven?
This is something I have a definite idea on. I’m sure this comes as absolutely no surprise to those of you who know me well. 🙂
What I see is an emergence into the divine light. We have been afraid, and now we feel warmed and comforted. We open our eyes to the light, and we see the face of the all-loving God before us. And in God’s eyes, we begin to see. We see what our lives meant – every action, every inaction, every word, every decision – we see the effects on the people around us, those we know and love, and those we weren’t even aware of. At that moment, I believe we would naturally be filled with sorrow, at falling so far short of the very simple mark God had set for us: love each other. We see how we failed to act with love, to speak with love, to live a life of love. But… as we are filled with this sorrow, we are also upheld by the light, the warmth, the presence of God. We become aware of something more. Suddenly, we are filled with God’s love, and the knowledge of what God’s love means, what it has always meant, though we were too preoccupied to realize it. God loves us infinitely. God loves us perfectly. God has always yearned, ached to love us completely, and to have that love returned. The sorrow at our shortcomings melts away in the divine fire, and we are left with love. We are left with God. We are in heaven.
So today, and every day, I hope you can find a bit of that divine fire, a bit of heaven. Because God does love you infinitely, profligately, wastefully, scandalously. Yup – you there. The one trying to hide. The one who feels unlovely and unloved.
And – erp! – me, too.