Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Glimpses of Heaven

Sitting around the table after singing "Happy Birthday," someone asked my daughter what her favorite point of the day had been.  She looked around and talked about going to the baseball game with her father.  I looked about and my favorite moment was that one, with everyone around the table.  Even on Easter, we hadn't quite captured the knowing moment of being together, despite going to mass, despite breakfast lunch and dinner.  Today, Easter Monday, for a moment, we caught the experience of being at the wedding feast, when all whether eating or not, were present to each other.

Then someone asked for milk and another, a fork, a text message came which demanded an immediate response, one child vanished to the basement with her kindle while another two raced to finish the video game they'd paused and the birthday girl finished her cake and asked to go plunge back into her new book. The babies needed washing and the moment of communion over pink cake and candles fell into memory, blanketed over by the need to get one back to school, to do the dishes, to fold the laundry, to organize, to clean up the crumbs and keep moving.

If Catholics need a reason for weekly mass, it is that we live in an age that seems forever on the edge of dissolving into permanent rage. The Internet especially trades on the commodity of outrage that can never be resolved or absolved.  Any pockets of peace or tranquility have a singular quality to them, they are unique to the moment, to the post, to the writer or the reader.   Rage against the other side. Rage against the rich. Rage against those in power. Rage over what we do not have. Rage against what others do or do not do. Rage against what is being demanded or not.

Top that with the demand for instant access to our brains via emails and cell phones, i-pads and blackberries and we live in a busy busy angry exhausting world.  Carving out an hour, where we only need be present, we only need come with our needs, our wants, ourselves and all we love, seems like so very little for God to ask. Especially when doing so, would give us His peace even if we're stuck in the cry room with two children who have perfected the art of being both dead weight and oddly boneless while screaming. It is sufficient, God counts if we show up, if we are present, if we come to the table.

But we're busy crazy forgetful creatures, so he gives us moments to remind us, like sunsets, early spring flowers, snow falling and those few minutes after the cake.

And I think to myself, it's a good thing we have 12 birthdays to celebrate, we will perhaps be able to experience a few more slivers of what it is to be in Heaven and remember that the goal of this life is not to die tired and busy, but to be still and live presently.  

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