Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

Little Heavens

Little Heavens

At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, I have long kept a running mental list of moments when, if I could, I would be 100 percent happy to freeze time or bottle it somehow so I could return to that time later. Step back in and relive it all over again.

There's a quote that floats around social media a lot (it's attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, who I really don't know anything else about, if we're being honest) that basically says notice when you're really happy.

For whatever reason, I've always naturally done that. And at some point in the past year or so, I decided that those moments are probably the closest I get to a taste of Heaven.

Honestly, as an (overly-nervous?) church kid, I found the whole concept of Heaven never ending incredibly freaky. I mean, never ending? Everything needs to end. Too much of a good thing and all that. I couldn't wrap my mind around it.

I still can't wrap my mind around it, really, but I do know that in years since, there's been plenty of times I'd be perfectly happy with stretching on for eternity.

On Sunday afternoon, my family crashed immediately after church — Easter is Not A Holiday for pastors — so naturally, I wandered over to the Sowell house.

The Sowells are just one of my favorite families I've ever, ever adopted myself into. It works out great that they don't seem to mind. I settled onto their back porch with the other friends and, you know, real family members present; peeling crawfish and drinking coffee and, somehow, getting roped into a football game that left me laughing so hard my stomach hurt the next morning.

If I could bottle the day and save it for later, I would in a heartbeat. It was one of those Heaven times. And that night, the sweetness fresh in my mind and heart and soul, I tried to make a list of others.

An inordinate number involved back porches and coffee, actually, because that's what my Heaven is going to be; but every single one was bound by the presence of people who, blood or not, became family. No-pretense people. The people who know me — really know me — and choose to be on my team, good times and bad.

The list made me laugh and it made me cry, and I think you should make your own, personally.

But more than anything, it made me thankful that I've gotten so many glimpses of perfection and that I get to call so many amazing people mine. My people are the best people, man. They'd make you want time to never end, too, if they were yours.



Conversational: Gabe Henderson