Gaudium et Tremendum*

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”—G. K. Chesterton

We ended yesterday with a boat and a bonfire. The last of the sun turned the clouds baby blue and perfect pink, touched with fire, a cosmic nursery for the birth of stars; the moon a nursemaid all in white, smiling down. The firepit crackled and popped in greeting on our return to the dock; the sky turned purple, then navy and black; breath of spent oak mingled with pipe smoke and marshmallow; laughter and explosions of sound and color in the skies: blues and greens and purples and whites, red rosettes high above the trees to mark love of freedom and the birth of a nation.

At last the mosquitoes drive us indoors, brave descendants of saints and patriots that we are, fleeing from pinpricks and the whine of tiny wings! Homespun strawberry ice cream, jokes and laughter until at last sleep calls too loudly to ignore despite the din.

And then this morning: black coffee and cacophony of life, feathered and amphibious, praising the new day. It is a weekday, a workday—but not for us. Rumble and bellow of a train in the distance; a loon protests, and it passes. The breeze smells of rain, but does not dampen the riot around us. From the tent on the lawn our offspring emerge, one by one, as they arrived, so like and unlike us. They are beautiful—earthy as birth and bedhead, otherworldly as angels. It is, and will remain, a good day.

How tightly must we close our eyes to cry out for evidence that Heaven is for real? Have you seen this place? What, then, must Eden have been? We are surrounded by wonders large and small every day. Do we notice? Joy and wonder everywhere, and we plod through our workaday lives as though we’d rather be someplace else.

Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.

In truth, we would rather be elsewhere, and rightly so. Heaven awaits!—but we cannot ascend that mountain until the Master beckons. In the meantime, should we not enjoy this world in anticipation of the next?  Look about you and imagine what joy, what wonder, the next world will hold.

Good morning, dear ones. We are risen, indeed!

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Gaudium et Tremendum means, roughly, Joy and Wonder.

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