Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bringing Heaven to Earth.

My brother Bill doesn’t look like the philosophical type, in fact he probably looks like the aged 60s hippie that he is. But my eyes have always seen him as the wise grandfather, sitting with his pipe in the seat of honor in a tipi, the sage who speaks of important matters but does not give a lot of time to trivia.

I visited his home in February not long before he was scheduled to have triple bypass surgery. It was a scary thought. We lost my father at age 50. Heart problems are prevalent in my family. Bill was soon turning 60. He also had smoked a good part of his life, and had concerns with emphysema. The visit was warm and wonderful, but it had a very “real time” feel to it. Who knew what would happen in the weeks to come?

So we were discussing the political climate, the response around the world, and the potential for positive change. Soon our talk transitioned from political to philosophical. “I believe we don’t understand our most important purpose,” I said. “I believe people are here to support each other. We are meant to be there for each other.”

“Um hmm,” he replies from somewhere deep inside. “I think our job here is to learn how to bring heaven to Earth.”

I smiled in acknowledgment. “Nice way of putting it.”

So, we’re eating dinner and discussing everything from kids to jobs, and I asked Bill if he had ever heard of Christian, the Lion. He had not.

Christian was a cub when two young men in England adopted him back in the 1970s. Recently the story has resurfaced, now with a youtube video that has touched millions of people all over the world. What happened (the short version) is this: After a number of months in their flat over a store, the men realized that the most loving thing they could do for this lion whom they had grown to love, and who loved them back, would be to find an area in Africa where it could go and “learn” to be a lion again, to live a free life. They did not want to have to put Christian in a zoo! To make a very beautiful and long story very short (see the documentary or read the book for more information), they did what it took to get Christian to a refuge in Kenya, under the care of George Adamson (known for saving Elsa in Born Free). In the current two-minute video, we see the young men visiting Kenya one year after they had left Christian there, with doubts as to whether he would even remember them. I was telling Bill about watching them in the video calling "Christian" and looking around this vast desert, when suddenly a lion appears on a ridge, sees them, and what begins as a careful walk turns into a run as Christian realizes who they are. With Whitney Houston in the background singing “And I will always love you,” Christian flies into the arms of Ace, hugs and kisses him all over, then proceeds to do the same with John. It’s quite emotional, and Bill loves animals of all kinds so I really wanted him to see it.

As I finished the story he looked at me and said, “Now that’s bringing heaven to Earth.”

So – the theme this month is – “bringing heaven to Earth.”
If you have a thought for what bringing heaven to Earth looks like to you (one or two sentences is fine) please step in (the blog, the circle) and share your thoughts.