“Sigh no more ladies, sigh nor more,” said Shakespeare concerning men, “One foot on sea, the other shore.” The poem seems to be lamenting the fact. But as Christians, particularly Catholic Christians, that is exactly where we are supposed to be – or rather, one foot on earth, one in heaven.
“In how many experiences have you missed a lesson from God,” asks Saint Escriva, “have you missed out on because you failed to spiritualize them?” “Man is a natural scientist, but a reluctant poet” penned another writer. This world and what happens in it gives us vision and understandings beyond the physical. Indeed for the Christian, reality is a much bigger universe with many more possibilities. It is far greater because there is more than just what we see, measure, weigh, feel, and smell.
But neither re we lost in the spiritual world. This world has much to teach us. This world is also good and has much to teach us about how to live in it. That is why priests have been and often are scientists and why “the Church” is credited with much of the scientific discoveries in this world.
Having a foot in both worlds creates the fullness of creation and all that it can give us. As a silly example, Sebastian and I went for a walk in the MetroParks today. We saw science at work. Man made paths wound their way through the woods. By paying attention to nature somebody knew how erosion works and walls of the river were shorn up, logs placed to keep dirt from being slowly stolen away from running water during rain storms, ditches were dug to control the path of water and so forth. Science kept a usable path in place.
But super naturalizing the walk gave a broader a view to a larger universe also. There were abandoned paths that were slowly turning back into wildness. Old timber steps that were rotting away and looking more and more like a fallen and long dead tree. It reminds us that this is not our home that the earth, as wonderful as it is, could shake us off like Sebastian shaking off the rain on his back. Earth is just slightly hostile toward us like a mother eagle shoving its young out of the nest telling them that it is time that they start flying. This was home, but they belong somewhere else. So do we. In heaven. So that if our mark does not remain forever, that is Okay. This is not home anyway but a place we stopped by. And our graffiti will last until it is painted over, but home will be forever and ever comforting to us.