I promise you can have Heaven on Earth. I know this to be true.

September 07, 2017

I promise you can have Heaven on Earth. I know this to be true.

Being vulnerable and raw has opened up authentic connections with others -- connections that are richer than I've ever known. I feel this way with all of you. Despite the fact none of us have really met in person, I feel somehow a friendship. Perhaps an “e-friendship.” Do you know what I mean?

Wearing my heart on my sleeve has made life real. I've experienced pure joy and deep sorrow, and those vivid moments have colored my life, defining the shapes and edges of a portrait unimaginably beautiful.

A recent experience I had was too rich not to share with you.

About a month ago, Ryan and I could finally attend church without kids. Our arms were not holding on to our dear children, so we could actually hold hands. It felt like the “old days.” I noticed the woman sitting next to us glance over at us from time to time. She seemed bothered, or…?

About two-thirds of the way through Mass, everyone in Church turns to one another and offers a Sign of Peace. So, I turned to this woman and offered my hand.

“Peace be with you,” I said with a smile. She looked Ryan and I dead in the eyes and returned our greeting of peace with, “If you keep treating each other the way you are now, I promise you can have Heaven on Earth. I know this to be true."

Immediately I felt this odd sensation. I know it, because I get it just before I start to cry. There’s a tingling feeling that goes from my nose to my eyes. I can’t explain it, but without fail each time I feel it, I start to cry. Do any of you have this, or perhaps I am just odd?

Her words of promise touched us deeply. Her glances were not of judgement, but rather pure love.

As soon as Mass had ended, Ryan turned to this woman and put his hand on her shoulder. We had both noticed her crying softly since our exchange during Mass.

She told us her husband had recently passed. She spoke such beautiful words about him as a spouse, father, and math teacher. He was a light in his community. Her husband's legacy of love was still burning bright, still living on in his wife and in the hearts of others he touched.

Let me just pause a moment, even while I write, and let this moment soak in.

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This woman, Jeri, was so vulnerable with Ryan and me - we were perfect strangers less than an hour ago and now we were embracing each other crying. It was beautiful. Jeri taught me 3 things that day:

  1. Despite the chaos of life, I need to be good to my husband. He deserves it, I deserve it, and our children deserve it. (It’s not that I am not kindly to Ryan, but lack of sleep, stress, and an endless list of things to do CAN get the best of me).
  2. You never know what you might say to someone that could open up a whole new, deep level of friendship.
  3. Don’t hold back tears. Just cry. And hug more often.

So my dear “e-friends,” who is the Jeri in your life recently? Who showered you with kindness just because? Or perhaps you were Jeri to someone. I’d love to hear about it.

Here's to sharing life, letter by letter,

Pam