So often, tired out from my crosses, do I seek heaven in a sunshine-strewn life free of cares and troubled people. My wistful longing for respite from worries and the scratch of human nature makes me search for eternal joys among bursts of blooms and in the green of unblemished landscapes and perfection.
Yet, looking back on the life I have lived thus far, I cannot escape knowing that the path to heaven is seldom through the ease of a carefree wind dance through green welcomes, gay and bright. While my seeking does indeed take me through pockets of joys and merriment, more often than not, I touch heaven through the rough and painful, through deserts and desolation, for it is then that having need of God, I seek Him in humility and with a fervor, for myself and for others.
It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience. ~ St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love