There is the story of the old Midwesterner who says he would love to come live in New York, “once they have it finished.” Our personal and collective to-do lists seem to define our lives and they never get cleared, even though we, unlike New York City, will come to completion soon enough. For as long as we chop off its head, the to-do list of modern existence just keeps growing at the tail.
But let’s imagine the day when every task that’s going to be done will be done, and the last item is finally crossed off the very last check list. Then the world will set aside its fears and notions, look at the holy, the wicked, the scared, the scarred, and say in huge relief, “It is finished.” The need for war, struggle, kings, even the need for pretense, protection, status and stature will be gone. There will be nothing to fight for, nothing to prove, or even to lose. We could finally, really stop.
Then, when we can be our simple naked selves, maybe the joy of just existing will, child-like, rise among us, and we will see the things of the world, like trees and clouds, hammers and birds, houses and cars, in all their unvarnished splendor. No more preoccupation with “are we there yet?” no more, “am I near to creating the conditions I need for happiness?” Because Paradise is today.