It starts with an inquisitive mind of a child, budding little brain cells reaching out into a world full of "whys." The curiosity of a toddler, the way they look at objects, their fearless ability to reach and touch everything in their new little world, is brimming with wonder and development that will continue for life.
A restless mind that refuses to sleep is in a constant state of flux. Some can never get away with simply accepting what is. Too many reasons to ask why. Too many things to questions. A process of learning. Of yearning, to know more.
As a small child, the course of my development was accompanied by a steady stream of questions...like so many children with over-active imaginations and persistence to know more. Mom and Dad would ask me why I asked so many questions, somewhat annoyed at times. Was it wrong for me to ask them? Why did it bother them? Often I was interrupting them, I suspect. Looking back...I bugged them.
Report cards came out for the first time in Kindergarten. Grades for small tasks at first, beginning to shape the way I would see myself. Then there were the "teacher notes," always at the bottom, like secret messages to the parents we were never supposed to see.
"Cathleen is a very precocious child." "She asks a lot of questions." "She often disrupts the classroom with her behavior." "She is more mature for her age." "She seeks attention."
One never forgets these early impressions. You carry them with you like secret scars or bits of treasure, not always sure which one it is. You question some more. You wonder if these are good or bad things. Are you different or are you the way you are...just because. The questions that flow like rushing water from a broken faucet, will not stop. Couldn't help it. Never too much analysis at age five or so when it just seemed so natural to wonder why.
It comes sooner than later, though. Right? We look back and wonder what we were really like as kids. How did we really look through the eyes of others? You may later have your own kids and maybe even grand children and you keep asking questions. You try to figure out how you got to be where you are today and why it happened as it did.
I may have over-analyzed many things that affected me during my childhood and into adulthood. Sometimes it's in a proactive way and other times it's just counter-productive. So I stop myself. Too much over-think at times. That's what I do. Since I was very small, I have thought too much by some standards and asked out loud nearly everything that enters my head. A bit much at times. Even for me. With time, I have learned to pare it down.
I notice that the word, "analyze" has the popular word, "anal" in it, which is not to say that I consider myself to be "anal!" Or am I? What do others think? Hmmm, could I be just a tad bit anal? Don't like the sound of that much. And here I go again, over-thinking a simple little word. It has become a part of our common vernacular, to view some as "so anal."
Skip to present time. Sitting in the cabin, looking out the windows at some of the most wondrous winter glory one can imagine, surrounded by snow laden trees, white landscape everywere the eye can see. It is marvelous the way the sun lights up the snow, reflections of shadows in the light rays, luminous in it's brightness; pure whiteness, softly framing my vision. I am overcome with the natural phenomenon that is right outside my window, year and year, time and time again. A reassurance that life regenerates itself, effortlessly and with such stunninng beauty.
The questions just keep coming, like the snowflakes falling in perpetual rthythm, again and again. A snowy blanket that covers over and over; layer upon layer. Only the drifts made by the changing wind, shifting patterns like the mounds of a desert landscape, falling upon another curve of colorless blinding light. If you stare too long at the snow, it will blacken your vision, like the flash of a camera and the lasting blinking light and darkness. Repeating.
A question lives inside me, left unspoken but certainly there. Perhaps only for me, it is a question that replays in my head, over and over again. As I look at the simple landscape around me, through all the seasons and passages of life, I see more beauty and perfection around me that I may have once taken for granted. It all seems surreal and very real at the same time. That I could question this is staggering at times and unholy even. My parochial upbringing would call into question, my questioning. But it is always there. Do I dare ask it for fear of knowing or not knowing the real answer? That the answer might never come in my lifetime and perhaps there will be no other?
It is simply this. "Is Heaven here on Earth?" Are we all waiting for some realization, expecting something far better? Is it really here afterall and we are meant to learn this in our one and only life here? Are we condemned to hell for not knowing or realizing what it is that life is meant to be? Is not knowing, true hell?
It is not far fetched to see that so many humans are walking around this planet in a complete daze, a fog, an unknowingness. Limbo. This appears to be a status quo with varying levels of awareness. Am I over-simplifying or over-stating? Is it what I want to see? What I think I see or that I observe the subtle mysteries of existence of others around me? More over-think?
I do believe that I see Heaven here. Even if it's only slivers of Heaven, like the pain one feels when splinters of wood find entry into our skin, which we are brought to bear and find such great relief once removed. I say this because there is both pain and joy in knowing that Heaven is quite possibly here, in a myriad of ways that shapes our existence.
Despite unspeakable horrors, natural disasters, hatred among men and nations, rising economic fears, the daily stresses of life we all experience, there is still a persistant wealth of pure goodness and endless layers of beauty in nature and humanity to remind us of life's gifts.
Perhaps the child still living in me sees the lessons of life in simple terms. That our creator has given us everthing to sustain us, physically and spiritually, right here, right now. He has allowed us to make our own choices and given us all the tools to find Heaven on Earth. All the signs are there. If we cannot see it in this lifetime, how are we to bring pure gratitude with us into the next?
For whatever reason, whatever it is, I feel this in my gut. I get it. Even if it is just what I need to see in my earthly existence, my own tangible proof, it is my answer to this one question. I am at peace with this. I know how I want to live the rest of my life.
Putting on one shoe at at time, I can walk a little more steady into this day and into the next. I can put all the questions to rest for a while as I have found one answer that sustains me. I am good with this.