FRENCH scientist and mystic Theilhard de Chardin said our lives would change if we realised we were not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.
And if we’d only just stop for a minute, we could hear the God of the universe whisper: “I love you.”
That has an otherworldly ring about it.
We are living on the edge of eternity, but it’s sometimes hard to get glimpses of heaven in this world. It’s easier to glimpse hell on a planet seemingly fuelled by anger, greed, lust and ignorance.
French poet and playwright Jean Cocteau was once asked what he thought about heaven and hell.
“Excuse me for not answering,” he said. “I have friends in both places.”
Who can’t relate to that?
Earth is an in-between world, touched by both of the other venues.
Our profound human predicament is that we only occasionally dream beyond our earthly existence.
When good things happen, we may think we are in heaven; when bad things happen, we are in hell.
The fragmentary nature of our experience shatters us. One minute the world is full of lightness, then suddenly full of darkness.
No wonder we want to cry.
God says that when we get to heaven, he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
But that’s in heaven.
The poet Robert Browning said that earth was crammed with heaven; and it is.
The writer Mary Antin had a theory that we are not born all at once, but by bits. First comes the body, then the spirit, slowly and often painfully. Our recognition of heaven on earth is not automatic.
There is a story told about ancient monks who searched earth looking for the door to heaven. Finally, they found it, the place where heaven meets earth. When they opened the door, they were back at their monastery, where they lived their daily lives.
As the poet Goethe said: We are our own devils; we drive ourselves out of our Edens.