“At the end of things we can, I think, come yet again to know — as we know and forget and know and again forget so many times — that Paradise is not a place that lasts forever here on Earth, but something that exists in the hearts of good people that hold their holy light within and, when that light is called forth, let it shine through.“
-Gerard VanderLeun, here, 10 Nov ARSH 2018
Paradise, California is the name of the town he was living in.
When I had my “lose almost everything” event, I literally didn’t even have underwear. I was wearing pajamas with men’s boxer briefs. And bright pink exercise sneakers.
(My natural disaster was not fire, so I was eventually able to salvage clothes and some other stuff, and a brave friend retrieved my FRN stack. But, much had to be given away or lost due to logistics.)
Life is much, much easier if you come to the adult realization that home is WHERE YOU MAKE IT, and that childish fantasies of finding some Narnian paradise-on-earth is a sign of a deeply immature, narcissistic soul. This isn’t home here on earth, as St. Augustine so clearly articulated, but we can, and we are called to project the joy of the supernatural hope we bear into this world. What we should project is the joy at the very hope that we will, someday, see our beloved Christ in the Beatific Vision. Not that the world will ever conform to our fantasies. Because our greatest fantasies are NOTHING compared to the reality of the Beatific Vision….
But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9
Last year I went to a favorite restaurant near my current dwelling down by a river, and upon going to the counter to pay the bill the youngish guy leaned forward and said, “Can I ask you a question?” Now, just a few hours before, a rare thing had happened to me. A man had propositioned me. Ugh. So I was thinking of that and groaned when the guy said to me, somewhat “sotto voce“, “Can I ask you a question?”
But here is what he said: “We see you come here to eat, and we see you walk by many days through the window. You always look SO HAPPY. Why are you SO HAPPY?”
And then you know what I did? I explained it to him. “I get to go to Adoration and Mass in the Old Rite every day. I get to see beauty every day. I live close by, we’re neighbors. And some days, I get to come here and eat yum-yums with you. How could I not be happy?”
Because home and happiness is where you make it in this world. Period. Full stop.
But VanderLeun needs underpants, and a toothbrush, and absolutely everything else, because nothing is as destructive, nor as potentially creative, as fire, so, in your charity….