Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"People think that when they get to heaven they will turn over a new leaf," Thoreeau said. As if, once we’re dead, we’ll have the energy to retrace all our steps backwards, like a spiritual Ginger Rogers—in our gown and gold slippers. I grow tired trying to retrace an hour’s steps when I lose something. I usually decide that what’s lost is not worth the time to search.
The church down the street decided to hold a rummage sale and donations filled their entire community room. They sent out a plea for help.
We tried to sort through the drifts of cast-off clothing.
On the news, an old woman was discovered after weeks trapped in her house by her clutter with her husband’s corpse. The firemen dug for hours in protective masks to reach her.
In the debris scattered outside lay a large wooden spoon, the kind sold to tourists on tropical islands.
It reminded me of a Jewish story. A man visited hell, and the people there complained they were tortured by hunger. Banquets of food lay spread out, and long spoons.
“You see how they make us suffer, with these spoons that are too long for us to hold to our own mouths,” the damned wailed.
Then the man went to heaven, and found the same banquet spread. People there laughed and fed each other with the same great spoons.
This morning, instead of rolling feet first out of bed, I slid my head down the edge of the bed and looked upside-down through the window. The tips of the pines bowed with the wind that brought gold-rose clouds swirling. Is that how God sees the world, mostly heaven? For us, our interior life so overwhelms, that we hardly notice sky—is heaven as distracting to God? We think we would be happier if we knew that God paid more attention to us. But maybe the only way to true happiness is to be more like God, and see as he sees.