Dear earth

The terrace of the Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada, September 1999

The terrace of the Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada, September 1999

“…a greater glory I may one day see, but oh today, dear earth, how I love thee.”
Louise E. Weber, as recorded in the notes of Ronald Reagan

Skeptics sometimes describe those of us who believe in heaven as people for whom religion is a crutch; a desperate hope to which we cling when things go wrong.  That may be true in some cases, but I believe it’s mostly a misconception among those who don’t understand or share our beliefs.  While we do hold fast to our faith in hard times, we never feel closer to heaven than when we see earth at its best.

Standing among breathtakingly beautiful surroundings that could never have been crafted by human hands, I feel deeply the need to say “thank you” and equally deeply, the sense that the Creator hears me.  It may sound contradictory, but there is something unearthly about the most beautiful sights and experiences we take in during our relatively short sojourn here.

When we see indescribable vistas, experience moments of love, warmth or humor, or feel elation at the first touch of spring or fall in the air, it feels perfect, yet often it’s also, somehow, incomplete.  The deepest ecstasies of life carry within them tiny fragments of sorrow or at least wistfulness; we wish the moment could last longer; we wish we could share it with loved ones not present; we wish earth did not hold so much ugliness to counteract its beauty.

At such times, I think most of the believers I know will see in the incomplete perfection of earth a hint of what lies just beyond our reach as physically finite people who can conceive of, and long for, infinity.  I hope you will be touched by beauty today, and if it is tinged with sadness, I hope you can reach beyond what is seen, and open your heart to the unseen.

13 Comments

  1. Beautiful – absolutely beautiful! I see the beauty of life (and life is in the Creator) through you. Thank you every day–THANK YOU!

    • Renee, thank YOU for always having words of encouragement for me. Your strength and faith is a wonderful example.

  2. Carlyle

    Julia,
    I truly share your concept of the beauty and grandeur of this earth which God created.
    I believe that in those moments in which we are emotionally startled by what we view, we may have been given a glimpse of what lies ahead beyond this time and this earth.

    • Daddy, I think this is what Romans 1:20 is saying to us. It’s why people everywhere have always sought a relationship with divinity, and though the various indigenous religions are quite different, they have many common threads. I do believe we are given “sneak previews” of what is to come.

  3. MaryAnn

    Oh! Julia, What a beautiful shot of Banff! It is a gorgeous place to soak up God’s Glory & offer much praise to Him. Paul & I did a 5000 mile motorcycle trip through my favorite states: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana; then Canada: Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise. Paul had been told that he could show me waterfalls to my heart’s delight. That was good intel! On our 1st day in Canada, I saw 27 waterfalls along the road. We also saw the big, beautiful ones: Athabasca, Sunwapta. Each day, I recorded the number of falls we saw. The most in one day was 36! Add to that the immense joy of viewing the animals in the wild, making it a time to remember our Creator’s Magnificence! Thank you for this reawakening of the experience!

    • Wow Momba, that sounds like one amazing journey. I don’t want to even think about how many thousands (millions?) of digital photos I would have been taking on such a trip! Montana is one of the very few (5, I think) U.S. states I have never visited. We have friends who love that state dearly. Jeff and I hope to see that part of the country one day. If you love waterfalls, Hawaii is another gorgeous place to see them, especially on the Hilo side of the big island, and near Hana in Maui. If you haven’t been there, I hope you will be able to go!

  4. Sheila

    Dear earth, that is so lovely. What a beautiful blog you have written today, Julia. I would like to read The Notes, since Ronald Reagan is a favorite of ours. Hope all is well tonight.
    Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, Reagan is a favorite of mine too; you may remember this post I wrote about him in February. If you haven’t been to the Reagan library in California, I hope you will be able to go. It’s fabulous now that it has been redone and enlarged, and sits in a beautiful location in Simi Valley, CA. I enjoyed reading The Notes; much to ponder there, and a lot of his humor and love of freedom comes through.

  5. Nancy

    I (finally) got all my pix of our trip to Wyoming/Montana printed today, Julia, and it is such incredibly “heaven-like” beauty. I so pray you and family can make it there someday.

    • Nancy, so do I! Do you have any of the photos in digital format? If so, I’d love to see them!

  6. What a gorgeous shot you’ve got and it really is magical there. We like to travel to the Canadian Rockies at least once a year. Every time we arrive, the first glimpse is like the very first time. We feel really privileged that we live so close (5-6 hours from Edmonton). I does really seem like Heaven on Earth. I hope it will always stay protected and guarded from heavy industries, it should remain there for all future voyagers, as it is, in all it’s glory.

    • It really is stunning, isn’t it? Except words like that don’t even do it justice. It’s almost like you can FEEL the beauty, not just see and hear it. I hope we get to go back someday.

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