Dark night of the soul, liminal spaces, depression, call it what you will, it sucks! I recently ventured into a dark place. Not dark as in evil, but dark as in unknown, like walking through a hallway in the middle of night unable to see a sliver of light escaping closed doors. Knowing you are in the right house and will eventually rediscover spaces of familiarity, but for a moment it's terrifying. Most "good Christians" avoid these uncomfortable places. We keep a constant parade of thoughts traversing the landscape of our minds, keeping our imaginings from venturing into darkness, nothing with the potential of selling out real, haunting truths. Embracing this darkness scares the hell out of us.
We all experience dark seasons, forcing us to question everything about ourselves that matters, yet we smile. We attempt transparency, we don't tell because the language these feelings elicit is often obscene or inarticulable. We share with anyone willing to listen about the goodness of God. Who would want to hear about the dark? We joke to convince ourselves we are not covering up, jokes about real life, self depreciating. Anything to conceal the truth from ourselves even more than the voyeur that wonders about our reality.
But what we really want is to shake a fist at God and tell him how he totally screwed up when he made us!
As I processed this recent recess into everything I hate about me I wrote a poem. I describe the feeling as getting lost. Getting lost can be so much fun, I make a point of doing so when traveling, it's the only way to discover the true beauty of a place.
Here is the thing about getting lost, it really is great, staying lost is not.
I don't live in dark places very often, I actually spend the vast majority of life in light. Senses extremely aware of the beauty that surrounds me, seeing God in every thing. I never live in grey. Maybe you think I am bipolar, needing medical attention. The idea of taking a pill to help me live in grey makes me want run like possessed pigs toward a cliff. Part of finding health and healing has been realizing the dark is as necessary as the light. (Not that others don't need medical help, find your healthy.)
To think that darkness is only gifted to those deserving is simply not true. Job, would you agree?
My first recollection of darkness was as a young teenager, kneeling at an alter at the end of a youth rally, asking God to let me die on my way home because the darkness I knew was within made me think I would never be worthy of His light. Now I realize the darkness within me was not separate from God, it was his way of gently drawing me toward himself. In the darkest times, when I felt He was a million miles away, I have grown, painful as it usually is, I continue to grow. I walk dark hallways until I finally find light. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes a while. But I am always found.
I am so thankful for being found, loved, and saved, over and over and over again.