April 19, 2013

The Earth is Crammed With Heaven By Susan Packard

I was recently given a book by my friend Angela.  It has beautiful sayings and illustrations.  I came across one from Elizabeth Barrett Browning that knocked me over:  “The earth is crammed with heaven.” This saying got me very excited about the retreat that I am co-moderating with my friend Susan Leonard on the weekend of June 14.

Who is our retreat for and what is it about?  It’s for women who are at a reflective point in their lives.  We are wondering about how we should spend the most precious gift we have—time—at this life stage. I left the corporate world almost three years ago in my mid50’s because something new was calling me. I didn’t know what that was, but I knew I needed a life change.  We can be fresh out of school, or tending to grandkids, and we ask the same questions:  What is my purpose?  What is my destiny?

Since I’ve left corporate America I have seen how the earth is indeed, crammed with heaven.  I’ve met many new friends, especially female friends, who have enriched my life.  I’ve done new work in non-profit and for-profit.  I am writing a book, something I’ve wanted to do since I was 16 years of age. 

When my husband and I were newly married about a million years ago, we travelled to New Zealand. We befriended a guide who flew us into a remote fishing camp, and we sat the day there, catching enormous scaly things (I’m not very experienced with the species), cooked them on an open fire, and talked. Our guide said: “Look around.  What do you see?” I said: “Beauty everywhere.  Infinite beauty.” He nodded and said, “You Americans are always in such a hurry.  You never take the time to stop, and to really see.”

Our hope for the weekend is that we can take a moment to stop, and to really see. . .what paths we have already travelled, and the many we have still ahead.  I know one thing we will find is that the earth is, indeed, crammed with heaven, and it awaits us with its open arms.

(Editor’s note:  please join Susan Packard at St. Mary’s Sewanee June 14-16 for her program Ask Me.  To register go to or call us at 921-598-5342.)