Reflections on Living
Is Heaven For Real?
People are on an earthly journey. They hope that eventually they will be in paradise. There they will discover immortality, perfect beauty, and the truth about life. Many believers see this place as heaven. In anticipation of this reality they talk about experiencing heaven on earth. Some refer to this place as the original Garden of Eden that once existed in the Middle East. This garden described in the Book of Genesis was destroyed by the Fall of Man.
Earthly Paradise is a four-volume collection of narrative poems written by William Morris (1868–1870). Its prologue described the flight of a band of Norse sailors in the Middle Ages from the Black Death, and their search for this glorious place. But heaven is more than an earthly paradise. Whatever it truly is our limited minds can’t begin to comprehend.
Right Comforts in Perspective
When people talk about having right comfort do they mean being in Comfort Inns, improved home efficiency, using a hybrid bike shopper, and having the right service? Or do they wish to retire financially comfortable, having at their convenience an adjustable chair, and a water furnace geo-thermal unit? These might be part of your plan of the good life, and you’re able to watch multiple-TV channels both via satellite and cable. But are you really satisfied with these comforts? You might say add my heart’s desire of favorite drinks, wine, beer, and liquor. Aren’t you sure though that you might still be lacking what’s essential for a healthy lifestyle? Your friends could advise you to do an exercise program to be in good shape, and try developing physically. It’s essential though that you take a good look at how you’re growing spiritually. For behind all your earthly comforts, much care should be taken in selecting what you do in your spiritual life. You should always remember that our heavenly Creator is the provider of all comforts, so be wise about them.
Descent to the Underworld
The descent to the underworld is a motif in many myths. Readers find these in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese mythology. These stories are in folklore of all peoples. The descent is usually made to rescue someone, who is either abducted, or rightfully dead. It’s all done to find the answer to a question, discover a secret from the ruler of the underworld, or to seize some treasure. The rallying cry that believers should heed is don’t wait for a hero or heroine to recapture you. Be safe, live wisely, and do what’s right in the sight of God. Waiting until you’re in a dark and bottomless pit, then realizing you’re in trouble, isn’t the best thing to do. It’s better to stay away altogether from such a dark and gloomy place.
Be a success in life! Don’t let disillusion get you down. Some people act bizarrely at bad stages in their life because they are discontented. It’s better and more fulfilling to work at being happy. Take time to reflect on the good things that life has to offer. Discover the richness in the arts. Listen to uplifting music, and enjoy reading good poetry. Remember to see the good-hearted gifts in people, and celebrate the joys of life. Why don’t you fill your dreams with these pleasant reminiscences, and see the joys of the world unfold before your eyes? Katori Hall (b. 1981), a playwright and journalist wrote, “Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, and your inner voice to guide you.”
Carp Diem is a Latin aphorism that calls for people to live to the fullest right now. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” declared the Roman poet Horace. But does life only consist of pleasurable pursuits? There’s an essential goal that’s necessary to make people happy. On a fall’s day people can take a stroll in the woods. They could watch a powerful and life-affirming film. Take a trip to some exquisite destination, or read a good book that warms their receptive hearts. Still these joys might not satisfy their desire to be happy. They could even breathe in the fresh air of the seaside. Swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or go biking on the beach when the sun is shining brightly in the sky. Still real happiness could escape them. Why is this so? It’s because they are only satisfying some emotional, physical, or intellectual needs. But have they ever stopped to think what is lacking? It could be that with all they are doing, there’s no balance in their life. They could be neglecting their spirituality that’s because their souls are hungering for higher fulfillment. This satisfaction only comes when they love knowing God. Their happiness then becomes truly enlightened only after they have attained a perfect equilibrium.
A poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1812–1861), who was more successful than her husband Robert Browning, wrote in Sonnet 43 about love without limits. She addressed the “lost saints” this way, “With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” These were saints Browning didn’t know. It was an acknowledgement that some of these wonderful individuals as important as they were, people didn’t know. They lived humbly doing good works, suffering patiently, and kept the faith. Only God in heaven knows, who these men and women really are. These are the incredible ones Browning loved so deeply. Yes, we hear a lot about the saints, who are canonized in the Catholic Church, and are blessed to know them. But what about those that are under the radar? Are you listed among these? Maybe you are, and don’t even know it. You could be humble, self-effacing, but abundantly blessed. Yes! You’re listed among those that Browning hopes to love better in death.
Unlike poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), the world isn’t just governed by “chance.” And natural laws aren’t always hostile. These aren’t necessarily indifferent to human lives. Do people get what they deserve? Some persons think so. They might say it’s all about karma. And what goes around comes around. Others could be simply indifferent concerning the needs of their neighbors. They find explanations of events with coincidences, view these incidents as the bleakness of nature, and are pessimistic. But it’s always better to be positive. When people look on the bright side of life, and serve their community they are able to find peace. It’s through this special kind of love that lives are changed for the better.