Town of ParadiseOnce, in a classic Jewish tale, a restless, unhappy man from Warsaw wakes up one morning determined to find the legendary town of Paradise. He travels deep into the night until he finds himself on the side of a mountain where he decides to get some rest. To be sure that he remembers which way he is traveling, he points his boots in the direction of Paradise. Then, in the middle of the night, a good (or maybe evil) spirit turns his shoes around.

When he wakes up, he continues on in the direction of his shoes to a city that looks very much like Warsaw. He even finds a house that looks just like his, and a woman who looks just like his wife. Convinced he’s now living in Paradise, he moves in, and somehow his life seems so much better!

Sometimes we think, “My life would be so much better if…”

If I could only land that job…
If I could just get that next promotion…
If my son would finish college…
If my health would improve…

And maybe it would. But if we get so caught up in living in the “what if,” then we miss much of life right here, right now. Even now, in this moment, in your life there is much good and beauty. There are people and things for which you can give thanks. Most importantly, deep joy and peace are found not by running for “Paradise,” but by trusting God with the present.

Our prayer today was written by Rev. Roger Kunkel, founder of Dial Hope. Let us pray:

O God of sunrise and sunset, let this day be a day of sunrise in our hearts, when all things are made bright and new. We thank you that you have chosen to make your home in our hearts. Help us now to make this day a masterpiece. In Jesus’ name. Amen.