The most bizarre 24 hours in the history of the world… EVER! have just ended. Okay… qualify: in the history of my world ever. Three totally spontaneous encounters with the underlying but clearly obvious God-message: GET OVER IT ALREADY! (Yea… like shouting.) Get over what? you might ask… another story for another time. Suffice to say what I heard is: It’s time to move on.
Yesterday I traveled to the University of Wyoming in Laramie to hear Fr. Ron Rolheiser talk about the dark night of the soul… when we doubt God’s presence in life, when there is no sense of faith or rightness with the world, when we feel alone and isolated, these are moments–short or forever too long–of the dark night. (Not to be confused with the Dark Knight.)
It really was an excellent conversation filled with great wisdom and clever one-liners to post on my bathroom mirror. In the wee hours of midnight dark, I pondered what Rolheiser described as this sense of compulsion toward God… this notion of being led by the nose because I can’t imagine anything better than being in this holy place. Peter speaks to this compulsion by answering Jesus’ question: Do you want to leave too? Peter replies: Lord, where would we go? You have the words of everlasting life.
Even through the trials of the Get-Over-It-Already story, I cannot walk away from the faith or the grace that fills my soul with life. Why is that? I could easily walk away from certain people or institutions, but this mysterious connection to something bigger than myself is too strong. I need to stay present because even if I can’t feel it now, I know that in the long-run it’s going to bring me life.
When our felt sense of God disappears and we feel agnostic, atheistic even, we can no longer imagine the existence of God. We lose our concept of and sense of possession of God as we once had it. We hurt… inside and out. We feel disconnected and lost. What’s the solution? I think it’s faith.
Coming back again and again to how we knew God before and believing that God is still there even though it feels more like absence and heartache. I know dark nights well. In the pre-dawn commute, I saw the sliver moon hanging in the sky above me. What was cool was that I could also see the rest of the moon in the shadow. A gentle reminder that even without the sun’s direct light, it is still there.