Besides the fact that after 3 kids I consider myself pretty far-flung from a trophy wife (although I adore his playful compliment), there is something so enticing, simple and poetic about that dream. If only it could be true. And yet, there is something biblical about that dream. There is something so deep in my heart that yearns for that kind of simplicity. I recently read an article about an island in the Mediterranean with many of these life-giving qualities and I suppose I’ve been working on this vision for awhile now.
Luscious, tart, fresh olives and their sweet, silky oil gently draped over today’s catch. Fresh peppery greens and velvety sweet onions that transform your body from the inside out. Homemade wine and vinegar known for its properties of longeviety. Fresh, creamy goat cheese and pollen-laden honey on freshly baked flatbread. Chewy pasta and pungent garlic settling comfortably at the core of my body.
Living to survive. Growing and gardening to feed oneself. Hunting off the land and learning to every part of an animal or bird to nourish your body. Treating the land with the necessary care to continue its living cycle. Working because it is God’s gift, not because you are compelled to compete or to achieve or to buy. Tying my long hair back at the nap of my neck and never again wondering what people think of the frizzy little tendrils that frame my face. Knowing that every mark on my body, wrinkle on my face, and ache in my bones is an outward sign of my story and my journey and knowing that everyone else around me knows it too.
Immense solitude and deep relationships. Time in the olive groves when the only sound you hear is the heat of the sun and the occassional pitter patter of falling olives. Listening for God’s voice and the voice of the earth on the wind. In the heat of the day, stopping for a long meal and a nap in the shade with those within walking distance. Conversations of real life, real growth, and a loving Creator. Conversations of silence. A place where death is just another conversation, another step on the journey. It is not something to be avoided, hidden from, or conquered. A life so focused in the moment that death is embraced like an old friend.
There are so many versions and visions of Heaven out there. And yet, for me, this simple, at times challenging, existence that focuses on the simplest of feasts to nourish the body, mind and soul is what I believe Heaven will be someday. Heaven is when we will live to our fullest potential because we will be free from the bonds of sin and society. We will be able to do the work and live the dignity that was granted to us before our very conception.
And yet, as a Christian and a Catholic, I ask myself if there is a way to bring some of that peace and simplicity to our life now. And the only conclusion that I come to is the same one I am often brought to in these moments…conversion of heart. My heart must be converted to that place. To change ones actions or routine only serves to focus one on the new routine. The true transformation must happen in the heart and soul. Moreover, for us as Catholics, that conversion and transformation flows from our source and summit, Jesus in the Eucharist. Then the actions, whatever they may be, will flow from that source as refined, peaceful, simple, loving and disciplined.
With Lent so quick on the heels of Christmas this year, this conversion of heart seems like a good place for me to sit awhile. I’d like to invite you to sit with me – what in your life needs conversion? Where is your little piece of Heaven on earth?
Amberly Boerschinger is wife to Kevin and mother to John Ross and Clara (and Baby B #3 in May!). She spends her days cleaning spills, cooking, reading and listening to the endless chatter of her daughter Clara, the human Twitter feed. When she’s not focused on maintaining the family cornerstone she works for a local parish as a Communications Secretary and teaches for the Diocese of Green Bay in the areas of women’s spirituality as well as Prayer and Spirituality. You’ll find her writing at www.the-inkwell.blogspot.com.