A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Dark

Hello darkness my old friend; I’ve come to talk to you again, because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping.  And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence.  ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

So, I took one of those stress tests, not the medical kind, but the one that adds up stress points for changes and chances in one’s life over the course of one year.  I so flunked and I knew I would.  Though, I didn’t quite realize how badly I would.  There are stressors I’ve had that weren’t even on the test and this year is only a continuation of the year previous. If I added them both together and divided by two, I would most likely still have an F minus, minus.  I don’t even know why it is that I’m still standing.  I shouldn’t be able to get out of bed.  Actually, I do know why.  It is the power of God that gets me up in the morning and brings me through the day. Also, if I stay in bed, my body starts hurting.

Speaking about getting up – in the middle of Wednesday night, I was awakened by a shrill sound.  At first I thought it was an alert on my phone but it wasn’t. I couldn’t get the sound shut off even when I turned the phone hard off.   It is especially difficult to find a noise when you can’t tell from which direction the sound comes, which I can’t.  I put the phone under my pillow but it didn’t stop the sound.  I went into the hall to see if it was a smoke alarm.  But no.  The sound was in my bedroom.  I was about ready to wake Dave in the other room to help find it, when my eyes alighted upon my alarm clock….  Somehow, the alarm had been turned on when the cleaning team was cleaning my room.  Midnight.  Dark night.  God’s humor?

A couple of mornings before, I awoke with the above song by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel going through my head. I think God may be trying to tell me something. As you probably already know, I don’t do well after periods of prolonged stress, but I have coping skills to help. If I can’t keep the brain chemicals in line, I am likely to crash. However, there are times in the spiritual life when,” darkness” is a sign that God is working something deep in the person going through it.  The Dark Night of the Soul is a time of God’s silence and often felt absence.  It is not the same as depression though it may feel like it and sometimes is accompanied by actual chemical depression which may need treatment.

I am not yet depressed, or anyway, not terribly.  I’ve been here before.  In my case, it is not the absence of God that I feel because occasionally, I feel him.  It is the Silence of God that I’m going through.  Although while writing about this, it is very possible that God is using an alarm clock and a stress test to speak to me.

Ann Voskamp –  spiritual writer, said, “It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us.”

God uses these “Dark” times to grow us in our interior selves and in our relationship with him.  I heard that years ago. A woman said that if you don’t know where God is, it is because he is working within a place we cannot go with our senses.  We can’t tell what he is up to. We can’t find the path. Often there is no glimmer of light.  But amid the dark there is hope.  As I said, I’ve been here before.  God had to get me to the place, where I can’t interfere. And I can’t.  I don’t know how and I don’t want to. I’ll just continue to keep on keeping on or in other words “Show Up.”  God will do what God needs to do.

A FRIDAY MEDITATION -Downcast

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God; for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” ~ Psalm 43:5

This has honestly been the most frustrating and draining few weeks (or maybe year) that I have had in a very long time.  We have not only had another tragic death in our family, and more in our church family as well, which is the worst of it.  But, in addition, I had to buy a new computer and have been working on restoring that which was lost on the old computer from hell (if you don’t mind my saying).  I finally have restored most address lists to the best of my ability.  All of my writings for about a year were gone because they could not be recovered. I know, I should have backed them up.  I was going to the day it died.  I can recover them from my blog so not all is lost.  But!

Then today, when I went to get my notes for this meditation from my tablet, they were not there.  Nowhere! They are just gone.  Done.  Ok.  Enough.  It is what it is but, right now, I don’t have the energy to pick up and move on.  What does an apprentice of Jesus do at times like these?

What does a person do when she knows that there are things for which she can be grateful but she can’t seem to get there?  Well, I can be grateful that I am not lost; it only feels like it.  I can be grateful that my broken heart will recover, but probably not today. I can be grateful that even though I feel picked on, I’m mostly sure that I’m not.  I am grateful that even though there are moments when I can’t seem to feel God’s presence, God is still here.  OK.  Getting better. I can be grateful that, most of the time, I can get myself out of the house. I decide to post this rambling writing because if I don’t, since it’s been about three weeks, I might not get back to it. Ever.

I’m grateful for all the beautiful fall colors.  They keep the grey from closing in.  I love fall most years, but this one…I need this one. Then there are those crying periods.  All the tears behind my eyes seem to be coming out of them and I can’t control them.  I just am done. I want to quit.  I also need to buy stock in Kleenex. Seriously, I know, I will pull out of this but I need some discernment on what God wants for me now.

I love you, you know.”  These words come as I write. I am sad because too many loved ones, yours and mine, have died.  It’s the way of life I know, but. I don’t like it. Maybe my sadness comes from the work of transformation in my life—when I struggle with things I cannot seem to change, and God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, and I love you, you know.”  A wise priest once said that grief is love left over and we don’t know where to put it. (something like that).  True statement, I think.

So, I like how the Message puts Psalm 43:5, “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” Yes!!!