Laughing Earth

“People who have applied the teachings of the church from the Word directly to their lives are in the inmost heaven and more than anyone else are absorbed in the pleasures of wisdom. They see divine realities in particular objects. They actually do see the objects, but the corresponding divine realities flow directly into their minds and fill them with a sense of blessedness that affects all their sensory functions. As a result, everything they see seems to laugh and play and live.(Heaven and Hell 489.3, emphasis added)

I remember reading this passage as part of my Logopraxis study last year. That last line grabbed me, it’s captivating! “Everything they see seems to laugh and play and live.” How jovial! I want to see the world around me laugh and play and live!

When I walk with my dog in the woods, I relish the feeling of being engulfed in nature. I love it! I love being surrounded by the greens and browns and yellows of grasses, leaves, vines, mosses, trees and logs, the gray rocks, the blue and pink and purple and yellow and orange wildflowers, the dark earth….  It’s all beautiful to the eye, which is a blessing, to be sure! But it doesn’t really feel like it is joyful and laughing, to me. I hear many birds in the trees above my head: some of their sounds could certainly be interpreted as laughter! Colourful flowers, maybe I could pretend that they look cheerful; lush grasses and moist, verdant trees, maybe…. but rocks? Roots? Soil? Nope; I’m not seeing it.

Reflecting on this, straining to envision these inanimate, dead-looking objects as laughing, playful and living, it occurs to me: personifying nature may be my mistake. The natural world around us may be living, but it isn’t human, it isn’t a person. None of it has feelings or a higher consciousness (well, depending on who you ask, but that’s a deep-dive for another day!). Nature can’t laugh, play and live the way we laugh, play and live; I reckon that thinking of it as responding, reacting as we do, is misguided.

Some animals certainly do seem to laugh and play – many of us would swear that our dogs smile at us, seem happy or sad, definitely sometimes excited, if nothing else; so we can see this ‘laughing, playing, living’ concept reflected more clearly in them, and yet they still aren’t human and, some would say, don’t actually have feelings…. so that might be a bit of a stretch in the sense that we’re still personifying them, attributing human traits to them.

So far I’ve been focusing on entirely natural things, even though that passage from Heaven & Hell doesn’t specify “everything they see in nature”, it says “everything they see” period. What about cars and trucks? Houses, chairs, clothes, garbage cans…?? Then again, I envision heaven as being primarily made up of natural things, but then again, we’re told that the spiritual world looks just like here, that spirits often don’t realise that they’re even in the spiritual world, it looks so much like this world…. But I feel like those human-made objects don’t carry the ‘essences’ of Lord-made creations, so maybe those don’t seem to laugh, play and live? But again, it doesn’t specify ‘everything in nature’… But this passage is referring to higher, inmost heavens, where maybe there aren’t all these human-made things, so I guess it really is referring to more spiritual/heavenly ‘everythings’?

Leaving behind those ponderings about what earthly objects might be in the other world, and returning our attention to the nature of our world, my next question is this: is nature laughing, playing and living in a different way than we’re used to?? Do trees and grasses, rocks and roots, mosses and flowers – and, for that matter, do lizards, spiders, fish, parrots, wolves, etc etc – do they express these states in some way that we aren’t recognising, or are legitimately blind to? Do they ‘vibrate on a higher frequency’, something that we can only be privy to if we ascend to that frequency?….. This is one of those brain-twisting questions, for me, when it feels like I’m onto something…but I can’t… quite… grasp it. 

I have to bring myself back down to earth and remind myself that seeing everything as laughing and playing and living is a trait of people who have “applied the teachings of the church from the Word directly to their lives” and are “in the inmost heaven and more than anyone else are absorbed in the pleasures of wisdom.” As much as I like to think that I’m spiritually evolving on an upward trajectory, this is a solid reminder that I am definitely not there yet! Nor will I ever necessarily be, for that matter. Whoopsie! We can always hope, though; hope springs eternal. My, how interesting it will be!

About Jenn Beiswenger

Jenn is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, homemaker, birth & postpartum doula, artist, pastor's wife,.. etc. She loves reading, word & number puzzles, cooking nutritious food, planning fun surprises, looking after her family, helping people connect, having good heart-to-heart conversations about the important things in life. She is learning more and more about the Lord's workings and is inspired by His sheer amazingness. She was born & raised in Canada, educated & started a family in the United States, and now lives & loves in Australia.

3 thoughts on “Laughing Earth

  1. I was struck by that sentence in Heaven and Hell, too! Although I didn’t think as deeply spot till I read your post. It’s such a lovely concept. I wonder if small children see nature that way more easily…before they grow up and forget?

  2. Thank you for sharing this joyful and hopeful passage along with your honest and rather delightful musings.

  3. Thanks for this Jenn! I go through a similar process when I read about heaven, especially the highest heaven. Can’t really imagine it at this point. But I love the mysterious glimpses.

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