Eternity is now.
Eternity is now,
And Paradise is wherever the saints are.
Forever we are dispersed,
Our minds' concentration diffused,
Wishing it were a later time,
When something we are waiting for arrives,
A false hope.
Hope abides, with faith and love,
A hope things eternal to wit,
Earthly hopes do not deliver:
"Earthly things cannot give Heavenly comfort,
And in the end earthly things cannot give earthly comfort,
Heavenly comfort is the only comfort to be had."
Hoping for change on earth will disappoint:
This is the key to the riddle:
"Two great tragedies in life:
Not to get your heart's desire,
And to get it."
The desire for comfort in earthly hopes,
Is a vortex,
Sucking the energy out of life.
But there is another way.
To a thief crucified in torture,
To any man in circumstances dire,
Hear the word of the Lord:
"This hour you will be with me in Paradise."
And listen to its heart:
Paradise is not when we get some earthly wish;
Paradise is now,
A scattered mind,
Brought home as a dove in peace,
To an earth lifted up to Heaven.
He who wants peace and paradise,
And worries about how to arrange the things of earth,
Is rightly compared,
To a man who wants to swim and clap his hands.
Multitasking is a way to grasp at more,
And let more slip through your fingers,
So you end up grasping less,
And dissipation with it.
"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
What is the peace achieved by worry?
What is the contentment achieved by acquiring something?
If your desire is frustrated,
Perhaps God wishs to free you to greater goods:
Treasures on earth give only illusory security,
But treasures in Heaven feed us today.
And if you cannot see how God could provide,
Perhaps God is waiting,
To give you something bigger,
To see with the eyes of faith.
Be in your mind,
"A garden locked,"
"A fountain sealed,"
Not dispersed in every direction,
For when we abandon this NOW that God gives us,
And wish a handhold on controlling the future,
Our hearts spill out in every which way,
Losing living water by grasping for an earthly water supply,
"Take no thought for tomorrow,"
And let Living Water enclose Himself,
In the cistern of your heart.
The time for eternal life is now:
The time for obedience is now,
If you procrastinate,
Choosing not to obey now,
Saying, "I can do it later,"
When that "later" becomes "now",
It will be harder to do now,
Because you have already rejected doing it now.
"Take no thought for tommorow,"
You will more have eternity now,
If your heart is not dispersed,
Dispersed into "What if this?"
Dispersed into "I want that,"
Than if you attend today to what God has given today,
("Each day has enough troubles of its own.")
You will be better rested from one night's sleep,
Than trying your hardest to sleep for a week at once,
You will be better nourished by eating one nourishing meal now,
Than trying to get a head start by eating ten nourishing meals at one sitting,
And leave this now for other imagined moments.
Tomorrow does not come,
As a worry, or a plan, or other distraction:
God has not given it yet,
But when he does give,
He will give it as now.
A now where we will remain in the summons,
To gather ourselves into our heart,
To dismiss thoughts that disperse us,
Present to God,
Present to neighbor,
Present to surroundings,
And Paradise present to us.
When the time comes,
When we will sink or swim,
We will swim,
Because swimming is easier than you think,
When you are only trying to swim,
And not also clap your hands:
"My yoke is easy and my burden is light:
Come to me, all who are weary,
And I will give you rest."
There is no other time we can obey,