Flipping through the Turkish Airlines magazine on our flight home from Istanbul last summer, I came across this quote by turn-of-the-century French writer, Jules Renard, emblazoned across a full page photograph of a luxury villa development on Turkey’s Aegean Coast:
“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”
While I wouldn’t have expected a real estate ad in an inflight magazine to provide so much inspiration, this quote has become a mantra for both my life and my writing; a reminder that no matter how ugly the world may seem some days, it nevertheless contains incredible beauty and goodness.
Seaside villas in far-flung places and raindrops on roses in my own backyard; exquisite mosaics in an Istanbul mosque and the sound of the waves at Ocean Beach; the kindnesses of strangers and the bedtime kisses of my daughters: from the foreign to the familiar, I view all of these things as pieces of heaven in an imperfect world.
There are pieces of heaven all around us, wherever we travel and wherever we call home. To find them, we need to slow down, open up our eyes, minds and hearts and engage as fully as we can. Life is short and there is no certainty that heaven follows, so let’s seek out and celebrate all the pieces of it that exist here on earth. And the more we do this, the more joyful and fulfilling our lives will be.