Saturday, 9 August 2014
How Heaven came to be
In the spring of 2011, having received positive feedback and encouragement about my writing, and knowing a few bloggers (in person as well as virtually) for whom this was fulfilling I asked my Provincial if I could start a blog. The question of what I should call it, though, prevented me from getting going as soon as I got the green light, as my surveys of other blogs showed the importance of a good name. True, there were some blogs with fairly straightforward names, such that one would know instantly that this was a blog by a teacher, ex-pat or staunch Catholic (or all three), but there were many others using a line from scripture or poetry, a playful pun or a simple phrase which somehow said it all. Backlit with joy, for example, containing the promise of quiet contentment, was precisely the sort of blog name I'd have loved to have dreamt up - but alas, someone else had got there first!
Naturally, as a Religious of the Sacred Heart, I began by looking for a name with heart, trying out every hearty phrase or play on words I could think of. Surprisingly, none felt even remotely right (even more surprisingly, when I was setting up our provincial Twitter account the following year it took me only a couple of minutes to come up with our handle - heart in the world - which I don't remember even considering for this blog). What was I looking for? I realised I wanted a name which wasn't pretentious or weighty but which would contain and convey something of the joy and the hundredfold of belonging to God in the Society of Jesus' Heart. Thus I moved from heart to another H-word - hundredfold; and after a brief sojourn slipped, very quietly, into my third H-word - heaven. And I arrived at my destination.
From somewhere in my memory's recesses, I remembered a Bette Davis film I had seen almost 40 years ago; a film filled with sadness, love and loss, belied by its title - All this and heaven too. Yes!! - this was it, it felt right; simple, non-weighty, positive, saying what I wanted to say... but, as I discovered when I finally went to set the blog up, a popular name already taken by someone else...!
Well, having taken this long to find a name I wasn't going to go back to the beginning all over again! All I needed was to play with it a little, tweak it slightly but still keeping the essence... and another word came to me, this time not a H-word, but a tiny, four-letter word filled with so much more than even forty-four letters could ever contain: LIFE. And thus, finally, All this life and heaven too came into being, a name containing and conveying heart and hundredfold, filled with God's daily gifts and promise to me, and how I desire to respond. It contains the promise of eternity mixed with the ordinariness of everyday. It is a name which I feel works at so many levels; and yes, it is "backlit with joy".
So that's the story of Heaven. Now: Cloister, Lilies, Communitas, Charlemagne, Morning tea, Love that moves the sun and others... what's your story?