I had known that he was a 17th century British poet, but not that his times were at least as troubled as our own. Traherne was a child when a violent civil war ended with the execution of King Charles I, followed by the brutal dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell. And in 1665, when Traherne was 24 and recently ordained an Anglican priest, a plague struck London, killing thousands of people within two weeks. Imagine the terror of having no idea what had caused the disease, what might cure it, or how long it would last. And yet we find Thomas Traherne waking every morning in heaven.
How is that possible, I thought? And is it possible for me to wake in heaven, thanking God every morning for my life and all the beauty of this wounded world?
As the holiday season approaches, with Christmas and New Year’s plans being disrupted for many families, it may help to remember that even at a distance, we can still love. We can still thank God for the blessing of other people in our lives, both those close to us and the strangers we serve by donating our time, talents, and money to help relieve the terrible burdens brought on by the pandemic.
Yes: as all things are possible with God, we can still wake in heaven every morning. And we can look forward in hope for a time when we can return to the retreat centers like Laity Lodge that have come to mean so much to us and our families.