The Earth is Crammed With Heaven
“Take Off Your Shoes”
“Earth’s crammed with Heaven
And every common book afire with God.
But only those who see take off their shoes.”
– Elizabeth Barret Browning
The problem is not the absence of God, it is rather, that we are too often blind to His presence in all places, at all times. Too often we sleep walk through the world. We are not awake enough to see God’s presence all around us. Modern city life is all noise and constant stimulation where our attention is drawn to the glitter and glamour of immediate gratification that calls us from all sides. We rush around busy with getting and spending and we lose sight of the wonder that surrounds us.
Because our egos are hungry for recognition we spend all of our time focused only on ourselves, trying to draw attention to ourselves. We push God out to make room for our demanding ego, and because our focus is always inward, we miss the opportunity to see that the “Earth’s crammed with Heaven.”
Our God is a God of surprises. In order to see, in order to be awake enough to see that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God”*, we must take ourselves apart, into solitude and silence. It is in the solitude and silence of prayer that our eyes will be opened to the presence of God in all things. It is in prayer, that quiet conversation that we can have with God, that we will be awakened to His Heaven hidden in the most surprising of places. And when we start to see that Heaven in the people, the places and the things around us, we will turn our prayer into action. We will take off our shoes to serve and be in the presence of our God in them. In doing so we will be serving Jesus and all will be well. All will be well.
* First line of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “God’s Grandeur”
Dan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.