I spent two hours in the local Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Bangor, PA last evening. I usually do this while my son Kris is at Hopesprings youth group. It gives me time to do some thinking, musing and writing. I get the added bonus of doing all that while enjoying a cup of Joe and munching on some donuts.
Last night’s visit was especially sweet. With just about 20 minutes to go before I had to leave in walked a young mom and her two daughters. They couldn’t have been more than 5 and 3. Mom ordered herself a coffee and the wee ones each had a frosted donut. They settled down at a nearby table and the girls shook off their coats, their long blond hair standing on end in response to the static electricity created in the frenzy. They were each wearing frilly tutus and tights as they sat down to devour their treats. The chattering away through donut-stuffed mouths and sugar glazed lips all combined for a few moments of bliss. Through all the giggling and enjoyment Mom was smiling and talking to her girls.
“They are just darling,” I said as I passed them on the way out.
“Thank you,” she said as she smiled. I knew that she recognized the gift of simple joy of sharing time with her daughters.
All this in a donut shop. Who knew? But I guess that is the point, right? You never know where those thin places will appear; you never know where or when heaven will meet earth. You just have to be open to it when it presents itself and when that happens you just have to sit back, enjoy it and give thanks that you were witness to a little miracle.
And I only had two donuts. Not bad; not bad at all.
There has been this myth circulating on the web lately. The supposed planetary alignment was supposed to interrupt the Earth’s gravitational strength for a brief period of time leaving us weightless for a few moments. That was supposed to happen today.
Aside from my waking up with a little spring in my step there was no appreciable decline in gravity that I could detect. No floating down the stairs to get my coffee. Nothing unusual.
But this gravity thing got me thinking. What is gravity? The dictionary gives it a definition of seriousness as well as the force generated by objects that pulls other objects toward its center. But what does gravity have to do with Earth being so hospitable to life here? What would happen if we had less gravity or moved our orbit to that of Mars?
Apparently if Earth’s gravity were more that of the moon the Earth would have difficulty holding onto its atmosphere. The oceans would release its own gases through evaporation in an attempt to replenish the atmosphere but they too would drift off into space. Eventually the oceans would dry up and life would perish.
If we kept the gravity the same but moved Earth to Mars’ orbit we’d have less energy derived from the sun and enter into an ice age unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. The oceans would freeze up to their greatest depths. No moisture would escape to the atmosphere and life would perish.
Pretty tenuous an existence. Minor changes to our gravity or our orbit would have catastrophic affects on life as we know it. No one would be here to write blogs or read them.
It also got me thinking how we can keep grounded in our lives. How do we walk the tightrope between being realistic and practical and building castles in the sky, as Thoreau encourages us to do? How do you shoot for the stars and not get so wrapped up in dreaming that you miss the beauty here on Earth?
I think that’s a struggle we all deal with. At least I struggle with it – balancing responsibilities with hopes and dreams. I think we reach that goal periodically in life. Those moments truly exhibit heaven on earth.
I will end here with two performances that seem to strike that balance. Enjoy.