I think I want a covered porch
On a big, ranch-style home—
Way out in the country
Where the horse and cattle roam.
Where I could watch the sunset
From a simple rocking chair
And see the stars come out
In the pleasant evening air.
A place where friends and family
Could come and shoot the breeze
And even passing strangers
Could stop and feel at ease.
A place for homemade ice cream;
A place to tell a yarn;
A place for old-tyme language
Like “golly,” “gee,” and “darn!”
A porch that’s full of memories—
Sometimes laughter, sometimes tears;
A place that gets more tender
With the passing of the years.
A porch where I could sit and think
And contemplate and pray;
A place where understanding comes
A little more each day.
For looking at the masses
There’s anger, so much hate;
We need an intervention
Before it grows too late.
It seems to me that everyone
Is raising walls within;
When what we should be building
Are porches once again.
For I believe God has a porch
On His big house in the sky
Where always He is waiting,
Calling every passerby.
Telling us to come and sit,
Come and see and stay;
To leave the city Babylon
And embrace a better way.
Where black and white, young and old,
Male and female too—
All are welcome equally,
Including me and you.
Then as we turn our lives to Him
And hear and heed His call,
We will see on heaven’s porch
Is room enough for all.
My parents have a comfortable home way out in the country. Though it does not have a ranch-style front porch, it does have a large patio area out back. Over the years, that has been the place for many a BBQ, hand-cranked homemade ice-cream activity, and socializing with family and friends.
I remember one such event with another family. We were playing reverse charades where everybody but one individual knows the word and acts it out, and the one person tries to guess what the word is. The word was “Big Foot” and Dad was guessing. With everybody stomping about and mimicking measuring their big foot, Dad started throwing out possibilities. With time winding down and the pressure on, Dad was guessing “huge foot,” “foot big,” “big, huge foot” but never quite got it.
Good times. Good memories. Lots of smiles and laughter. It made me think that, with society at each other’s throats, I wish we could all just get together on a patio or porch somewhere and get to know one another on a personal level. I’m sure we would find out that we have more in common than we think. We would see each other for who we really are—people with similar struggles, hopes, and dreams. I think the rancor would melt away and reveal a level of mutual understanding and respect.
I think that is what God would want us to see. I think that is how He sees us. Each of us is one of His beloved sons or daughters. He is a god of love and respect, not of hate and violence. He pleads for each of us to “come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; …all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). We are here to learn and grow and become more like Him. And then He wants us home.
Obviously, heaven is His house, and He sets the rules for what is allowed there. For God “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:31). He cannot and will not change the requirements to suit our limited mortal understandings, rebellion, or naiveté. But each of us has our own journey. Our salvation is a personal affair—between us and Him. Apart from that, we are required to love and forgive each other and leave final judgement up to God (D&C 64:10).
Think what a better world this would be if we all followed that philosophy. We would each be a little kinder, we would cut each other a little more slack, we would try to understand the other’s point of view. We would be slower to think the worst; we would see the hills the other has to climb; we would realize that maybe we are already doing the best we can.
So, until the day when we grab a chair and sit together on heaven’s porch, let us each practice a little heaven in the here and now.
Written: January 23, 2021