“Heaven on Earth” is a story for idealists, perfectionists and those seeking happiness. The search for perfection is doomed to failure, but does not need to be in vain…
A man and a woman were once eating breakfast together. “My dear,” said the man, “I have something important to say to you. Today I’m going to set out on a journey. I’m going to search for heaven on earth.” The woman choked on her coffee. “Don’t be ridiculous – you can’t mean that. Have you lost your mind?”
“Last night I had a dream,” said the man. “I was somewhere that looked like our village, but it was all quite different.” “How was it different?” asked the woman. “It was a wonderful place. I found it after walking for a long way. When I approached, I noticed that there was no sign with the name of the village, but a radiantly beautiful angel was standing at the first house. I asked him, ‘What is this village called?’ He answered, ‘I’ll show you round if you like. This is heaven on earth.’ I was shocked. I’d imagined heaven on earth to be larger, and quite different – a palace in the clouds, or a city with towers and golden cupolas. But this village looked almost exactly like our own, and I was almost a little disappointed by heaven on earth. The angel looked at me as though he was waiting for an answer, and I started to find him a bit creepy. ‘Show me around?’ I asked. ‘I think I can find my own way around.’ ‘I think it’s better if I show you,’ said the angel mischievously, and so off we went. We came across people who were talking to each other and laughing. ‘Like in our village,’ I thought, but it seemed to me that something here was different. And as we walked through the village, I felt myself becoming ever more favourably inclined towards the angel and the people who lived there. I asked the angel, ‘What does heaven on earth have which my village does not?’ He answered, ‘Heaven on earth can never be the place you are looking towards – it can only be the place you are looking from. Didn’t you know?’ I was silent, and for an instant I thought I saw a smile on his face. ‘Go and search for heaven on earth,’ said the angel. He remained for a second longer, and then he disappeared, together with the people and the village. I was awake and lying in bed.”
After the man finished recounting his dream, the woman took a sip of her coffee and was silent. “My dear,” said the man again, “I was given instructions by an angel. I have to set off and search for heaven on earth.” Nothing the wife did or said could change his mind, and on that very same day he said farewell to his wife, his family and his neighbours. Then he set off to search for the heaven he had seen in his dream.
He travelled through many countries. He went to Africa, but heaven did not look like Africa. He went to Siberia, but heaven did not look like Siberia. He went to China, but heaven did not look like China. And he went to America, but heaven did not look like America either, and he did not find heaven on earth. He was often welcomed warmly, and occasionally people asked him to stay – and sometimes he even thought that the angel was close by again, but it was never quite the same as it had been in the dream. He never found the heaven he was searching for, and so after a long time he returned home. “Can you forgive me for staying away for so long?” he asked his wife. “I didn’t find heaven on earth, but I’ve missed you so much.” She took him in her arms. “And I missed all of you as well!” he called over to the other members of his family and the neighbours who were approaching from all directions. “I’ve learned how much I can miss you.” “So you didn’t find heaven on earth anywhere,” repeated his wife. “What did heaven look in your dream? Which village did it look like?” “Oh God,” said the man.