I was sitting in the Dentist’s waiting room today when I saw this delightful board, containing some wonderful ideas, worthy of serious consideration:
Live like heaven is on earth;
Love like you have never been hurt;
Laugh like not one is listening;
Sing as if no one can hear;
Dance as if no one is watching;
Dream like there are no impossibilities;
Play like there are no winners;
Give like you have plenty;
Smile till your face hurts;
Cherish your family and friends every day.
These are wonderful thoughts indeed.
Here are just a few of my immediate responses.
I love the idea of unselfconscious singing and laughing—when no one is listening or nobody cares. That’s what it means to be really at home with yourself, and how wonderful it is when others allow and affirm that.
Birds do it all the time. Their singing, unselfconscious praise I call it, is the original Evensong.
To love as if one has never been hurt: now there really is a challenge!
It’s clearly what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’
And then I find myself also remembering a brilliant one-liner, from that master of one-liners, G K Chesterton: If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.
I remember how wonderfully liberating it was for me when I first found that saying.
I had been brought up on the ethic: If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
And to this day I am passionately committed to excellence.
But I came to see that what this ethic of mine actually meant for so many people was this: Unless you can do something well, you shouldn’t do it all.
And that meant and means that so many of us live impoverished lives, because we don’t do the things we love, we enjoy, and which might give us life and pleasure, friendship and fun, because we’re not excellent at them so do don’t do them.
If you enjoy singing, whether you have a fabulous voice or not, sing! Sing as if no one can hear.
Finally, I want deeply to affirm that we live within the touch of heaven. The idea that we ‘go to heaven’ when we die is perhaps comforting to us, but it should not be taken to mean that here and now we are separated from God. If heaven is where God is and acts and welcomes us, then we are also (at least in some really important ways) in heaven on earth.
This world is God’s, not ours.
We live in the presence of a loving, welcoming, creative and life-giving God.
We can live and love and sing and play and give—and die—within the presence of God.
The Tooth Fairy is very wise indeed.