How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
It's Sunday afternoon and the house is quiet. My grandmother is gently sleeping, taking her second nap of the day, and my husband is practicing worship tunes for bible study next week. I love that sound, the gentle strum of a guitar.
212. Husband plucking guitar strings
Sunday's also laundry day, and so I trudge downstairs to grab a load of whites out of the dryer. They are hot, smelling of the downy softener my husband likes so much. I fold each piece slowly and take in that familiar odor.
213. The smell of fresh laundry
By now, you're noticing a trend...numbers. I'm compiling a list of sorts, an inspiration from the book One Thousand Gifts, of things that I am thankful for.
214. A good book
But it's so much more than a list. As I've started giving voice to my gratitude, something interesting has happened. Nothing has changed in my life, and yet, my world looks a tad different than I remembered.
A perspective shift--a revelation.
I've been feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland, tumbling down the rabbit hole, or like Neo in the Matrix, discovering a new world that was in fact there along. Or maybe like Sleeping Beauty, who wakes from a deep sleep to find the world around her much changed. Something. Something different, magical, wondrous.
215. (Mental Note) A good fairy tale
Actually, this list, it's become a bit like a game. I wake everyday wondering what new things I'll find to be thankful for; a full moon, the way my dog looks at me when he wants to play, dinner with friends, the taste of a fresh crisp pear. It shifts how I look at the world, and brings new wonder to the old dingy places.
And I think to myself, this must be how a child feels. A child literally learns to appreciate something new every day. Their lives are filled with learning and adventure. Somewhere along the way though, we lose the wonder, and most importantly-- the gratitude. We see wonders and signs so often in our lives that we loose the awe in them; a baby born, a flower budding, rain, these seem so everyday. So ordinary. And suddenly we're blind to a world that we once saw in color.
Maybe this is why Jesus said we had to be like children, because children see things differently. Because the world is still new and wonderful. Because to them anything is possible, and the smallest joys are the biggest miracles. Maybe that's the only way to see behind the veil, to go beyond the Matrix, to wake from a lackadaisical sleep.
216. Good metaphors :-)
Maybe the only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is to once again capture the awe and wonder of life. Maybe that's the reason why this list is slowly changing me. Gratitude is helping me discover a new world, and all the wonders it contains. It's helping me to recognize God's hand and voice more clearly and to realize that sometimes the small miracles are indeed the best. My world, it looks a little more like Heaven every day, I just have to see it.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—ponder about such things.
Alex is a set free, transformed, loved woman of God who enjoys writing, photography, and a good book when she has time to read. She loves her family which includes her amazing husband Kevin, her fiesty grandmother Nonna, and her two dogs and cats. She has a passion for community, and for seeing people set free to find who they're created to be. Alex attended the Boston Conservatory of music as well as Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. She currently serves on staff at Gateway Church in the role of administrative assistant within Compassion Ministries and is a wiz at typing, stapling, and all things office related but most of all she gets to serve alongside a team that is slowly changing the world!