There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
*This post is written as a way of encouraging parents of special needs kiddos. My (life) experience has more to do with mood disorders and neurological issues.
THE BOY …
is watched over by angels, and I do not have the energy or the intellect or the salesmanship to convince you of this. Its something that I just know. Some parents might relate to this mystery.
And God …
gives the boy favor. In my imagination I can seethe Wild Man upstairs, the same One who created the whole deal, smiling when He sees the boy laugh, or when He sees the boy do something that is beautiful. In that same imagination I can the Wild Man upstairs become pensive, and almost weep, when He sees the pain of the boy … and when He sees the pain of the parents.
The Awakened Heart, by Gerald May, speaks of “Entering the Emptiness”. I was reminded of the Desert when I read this chapter. I thought of theDesert Fathers, those interesting sojourners who left town for the Scetes Desert in Egypt around 3 AD. After laying the book down next to the reading chair, one of my understandings of The Awakened Heart and “Entering the Emptiness” was May’s focus: becomingawakenedfrom numbness and captivity from “attachment” to items / areas / relationships (and etc.).
Leaving one realm for another, with the goal of positive / authentic / significant change in mind could be seen as (my words) leaving one emptiness (stuckness in the here and now) for another emptiness (the freedom that awaits). Paradox, possibly? The latter emptiness is where one finds an “awakened heart”; freedom, a redemptive shift in one’s journey, one’s story.
My intent is to return to shorter posts, so I will wrap this up. The word “awakened” showed up this morning, “post-wake-up” mode. After pushing through the barrier of making coffee, I searched out the prehistoric laptop, because I was compelled to write about the reality of being “Awakened”. What does this look like, for me to be awakened? What does it look like for you to be awakened? The threats of numbness, and negative attachment are relentless. I hope to keep the idea of being awakened in the front of my mind. I hope you find success with this endeavor, as I try to do the same.
One book that gave me much-needed insight on the dark night of the soul was Gerald May’s work,Dark Night Of the Soul.
“Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone… . much less upon one’s own mind. It’s like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves. Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety, moving deeply into the tumult, diving into the waves, where underneath, within, peace simply is.” FromTHE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL by Gerald May
St. John of the Cross (originally known as San Juan de la Cruz) wrote the “Dark Night of the Soul”, a long poem, during the 16th century.
Here are my thoughts, on the dark night of the soul: an ambiguous, desert-time that some sense they are going through; others don’t know about the dark night of the soul. There are different descriptions, different names. Community is crucial; and yet, the paradox of community is profound. Blogging plays a part in community, and I don’t know what I think of that. Maybe that is why I consider it a paradox.
You may be going through a dark night of the soul. Or, you may know someone who is going through . . . something … that has the characteristics of melancholy, or depression, or despair, or hopelessness. What you see may seem to be self-pity. But unless you pursue them, you will not find out. Thus, community. The dark night of the soul is part of my own journey, and community is more difficult in my older years. Mornings are elusive. But I know that there is peace, here, and it will never be absent.
“… the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon …” (Acts 27:13)
The rest of the story in 27 (Acts) is very interesting. Among many things that stands out is the idea that Paul is a prisoner on this ship (276 souls) … and he gives the centurion (he’s in charge, by the way) advice … advice that will end up saving everyone’s life. So, to some degree, it’s not the people who are in authority who have the wisdom; it’s the prisoner, Paul. And, in fact, he does save their lives. But, Paul is still a prisoner, who paradoxically has freedom at the same time. It is not until death that Paul experiences the maximum freedom. And it is not suicide, where Paul decides that it is time to go to the Other Side. No, it is the authorities who decide it is time for him to go. Humility. Wisdom. Courage. There it is: hope in the storms; glory in the story.
Thankful, yes; the joy intense, like heat, like sun … and the joy, so intense / hot / bright actually drives me away from glory, into a hiding place … driving me away from where He wants me to be.
How can joy drive me away? There is a desire to sabotage, to bring it down, when we are supposed to be up, and connected, and present. Yeah, the desire to sabotage strangely stirs. Maybe it is the message from somewhere, someone, that this is all too good for me. Yes, that one lie that goes something like this:
YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS, LOSER
So, I hide, I howl, I hurt, I hoof it out of town, and hole-up somewhere.
But He watches on (ever watching); He continues (Alpha, Omega) to battle, to provide (“No Fear, Bro”) …
He loves (Great Lover) … And He will be. He will be here. He will be there, on the Other Side of the Trees.