Instead of theological sameness, I like to imagine that heaven is a place where we become even more different than we are now, just as I have found that I have become more myself the older I've gotten and I think I would say the same thing about my husband, my children, and my dearest friends.
I wish someone had told me when I first began my journey into a life of my own that where I needed to begin was sitting on the floor, with my eyes closed. I wish someone had told me that my first step, the first step anyone must take is inward.
Most of my friends don't believe this, but my childhood friends know. Growing up, I was a nerd. I was shy, teacher's pet, valedictorian in elementary school, terrified of boys; and I was most comfortable when I had my nose in a book.
In 2005, two congregations left the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In 2006, three churches departed.
But the floodgates have lifted since then as decades-old tensions between liberals and conservatives have reached breaking points.
Love is the natural medium that carries messages, that flow incessantly and silently, bringing us together, conveying what is often unspoken -- the message from our hearts to others and to the world -- allowing life to continue and flourish in all our relationships.
Eli is silent -- I can only hear the background noise in the store. Then he speaks: "I am a paramedic with Israel Rescue. I was a first responder, trying to revive your father. I remember him very clearly."
As we share deeply with others, we broaden our horizons and bridge the gap of our otherwise very private inner worlds. Instead of giving each other an airbrushed version of ourselves, we risk the vulnerability of letting others know who we most profoundly know ourselves to be.
I'm having a cold drink, speaking with one of the film's producers, when I see this dragonfly poised on the antenna of a car. "Excuse me," I say. With drink in one hand, point-and-shoot camera in the other, I activate the close-up setting and snap three frames.
As an only child who by his own admittance grew up "sitting on the couch", Pandit suddenly had to share living space with over 60 other monks, sleeping on the floor, taking cold showers, and dodging malaria in one of the world's most overpowering metropolises.
Know that at this time we are protected, not just by ever-present divinity, but through the complete awareness of our own worth. With the satisfaction of such completion, we feel strong and powerful, actively part of all things.
Let's love the highest, starting with ourselves. This is where we start. This is where the seed is planted, where love can grow, and thrive, and blossom within each one of us into a delightful bounty that can be shared.
As we keep all the people who have been hurt in this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, let's try to let our light shine seeing Divinity amidst the disaster. We know that our faith tells us the somehow, somewhere, Goodness will reign.