In my seventh summer, I found the Kingdom of Heaven at the beach. Every day, from late June until Labor Day, I relished the time to see friends, swim in the ocean, stroll in the sand, and especially to collect sea glass.
At first, I kept the glass in a small jar. Soon, though, it was full, and I transferred it to another, larger jar, creating a kaleidoscope of white, green and brown, highlighted with rare slivers of blue. I filled that jar many times, sometimes gifting particular pieces, odd shapes or distinct colors, to my friends. Every day was an adventure, for I always found new treasures. And always I had room in my jar to hold more sea glass. The supply felt unlimited.
I savored that time, especially the evenings with the peace of the vast, empty beach and the soothing flow of the waves. The sun painted vibrant watercolor sunsets, as seagulls called to one another and scavenged the day’s leftovers. That summer, I had everything I needed. My life was free, easy, uncluttered and uncomplicated. I sat on my beach chair, perfectly content, nibbling a snack, watching the world spread out before me.
I didn’t know the words “Kingdom of Heaven” then — and I wasn’t to hear them until many years later. Yet, I knew this was a heavenly place, for I felt that surely God was the source of all that beauty and wonder. I knew that the world lay at my feet, waiting for me to embrace and experience all its possibilities.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is among us and within us. He taught that just as God provides for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air, God also provides for us. Jesus reminded us: As we give, so we also receive. When Jesus spoke of Heaven, he did not necessarily mean a specific place, but the infinite potential and possibility which exist for us all, wherever we are.
That teaching is profound, though not always easy to grasp. Yet, as we allow ourselves to flow with life, just as the tides flow along the shore, we experience more of life’s ease and joy. As we begin to appreciate the abundance all around us, we realize the freedom we have to live in our own heavenly kingdoms and to feel the glory which lives within us and within every living thing.
While I’ve traveled many places and owned many possessions, few hold the power of my seventh summer. Even now, I carry the memory of its promise and peace with me. In meditation, I can return there, free, easy and prosperous beyond measure. And when I gaze at my sea glass, now in a new jar, I remember the abundance of the universe. God is my source, all the time, and my Kingdom of Heaven — and yours, Blessed Reader — is always at hand.
© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.