This past weekend we drove two hours to Ft. Wayne Indiana to visit my youngest son Benjamin for his 21stbirthday.
He recently moved there for a fresh start and to stretch his wings. He’s sharing an apartment, working, and taking evening classes while learning to cook, pay his own bills, and navigate a new city. He was excited to show us all the neat places he’d discovered, including a beautiful nature preserve, a bustling indoor market, and a super cool used bookstore I could have wandered through for hours.
In the months since he left, I‘ve seen Ben grow and evolve. With each new challenge undertaken, his burgeoning sense of self-confidence and self-autonomy has become more evident and emboldened, transforming him from “boy” to “man.”
His awakening zest for a meaningful life is contagious and inspiring. He cares passionately about ecology, his numerous hobbies, and building an existence for himself that reflects his deepest values. Ben emanates an energy of wonder and curiosity that feels refreshingly bright and vibrant in this modern climate battling listlessness and disillusionment. As his mother, I pray fervently for God to protect his light and optimism from despondent reasonings and perspectives.
Being so intimately and eternally connected to one another, the energy we each radiate through our thoughts, words and deeds overflows from our hearts effecting the whole of humanity:
“We can keep guard over the whole world by keeping guard over the atmosphere of heaven within us, for if we lose the Kingdom of Heaven, we will save neither ourselves nor others. He who has the Kingdom of God in himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about ordinary things. It will radiate from us even though we may not be aware of it.”
- Elder Thaddeus
Never underestimate the power of peace and warmth to heal the wounds of the world.
It requires a great deal of intentionality to keep guard over the Kingdom of Heaven within us, and to cultivate our inner gardens no matter what’s going on around us. In terms of making a difference (whether you’re 21 or 101), it is no small thing to LIVE with hope and love your neighbor. I am grateful to my son for the precious reminder to seize each day in front of me and shine my own little light.
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