Faith is a dark night for man, but in this very way it gives him light.
Like a blind man he must lean on dark faith, accept it for his guide and light, and rest on nothing of what he understands, tastes, feels, or imagines.
Nothing is understood particularly in that loving, substantial quietude – and so might believe they are wasting time. The less they understand the further they penetrate into the night of the spirit. They must pass through this night to a union with God beyond all knowing.
In the dark night of the soul, bring flows the river of God.
~ St. John of the Cross
I imagine many of us can relate to the phrase “a dark night of the soul”. That time when you feel lost, disconnected, estranged from yourself and from God, utterly alone. I confess, I have lived in a dark night for much of my thirty-eight years… I write this undramatically. I write this because I have experienced the dawn of a new morning.
I have felt God’s presence at times, but I have not experienced a profound and lengthy stay in this place. I have sought, prayed, cried, anguished over feeling alone and separate from the love of God that I wanted to be true–knew was true, but couldn’t touch, until a couple of weekends ago.
Over the years I have found sustenance in other’s journeys, their time in God’s presence, their faith, and it has buoyed me until I could touch God’s face. The place and presence of others has lended to me what I could not grasp, at the time. I have found God circling with other women whether through writing, sitting in silence, or sharing our stories. I have found God in music, humble teaching, deep conversations, and profound words. But recently, I have found God in the leaves. He is there. She is changing the seasons, spinning the earth, weaving a web of love in the trees as I watch the leaves change color and fall.
I do not know what the dark night of the soul is for anyone else, but I know the longing and the desire to feel held, kept, and loved. I have stepped into this shaft of light, and I don’t want to return to the night. But let me say this, the night informs the day. The night is as necessary as the day. The darkness shows more than the daylight does, and it is good.
I know this: God is here. She is ever present. He is Love incarnate, even when we doubt. Even when we feel lost, confused, want more, want less, wish for something new–we are never alone. I know this partly because I believe, but also because I feel it in my bones.
May the stars come out as we navigate the dark. May the moon light our path. May we open and surrender to What to Who we know is there, especially in our need.
I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10b
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