When I am Not Afraid of the Dark

#sacredspace #art #folkart #museumwander

In the babyloss community, there's a lot of talk of riding the waves of grief.  The pain, it churns and rises and grabs you, hauls you under and then . . . ebbs calm again.  You kick, pull water with your arms, propel the surface to gasp water.  And soon you're breathing normally and the stitch in your side is gone and you can swim steadily toward shore again.  Then there is sand beneath your feet and you can walk and the sun is shining and --

that wave of pain floods high and the current yanks at your ankles and you're beneath the water, floundering once again.  Eventually the space between the waves widens, but I hear that they never stop coming.  Not ever.

That's what my God-wrestling feels like.  I thrash with Him, with my ideas and doubts and preconceptions, with the words of others and the words of the Bible writes, and everything feels upside down, inside out, and I'm groping for solid ground that I'm not sure even exists..

And then -- I'm there.  I find my feet.  My toes press into soil and sand, and there's calm, cool breath flowing through me.  I have arrived, I have found my new faith and --

then it's gone, I'm tumbling through a shock of salt water, spinning in the suffocating dark.

I think it happens when I'm tired.  And I am so tired.  I don't get myself to bed on time, and more than that I am tired of thrashing, of fighting it out with God or the devil for a grip on hope.

And it's not that I'm ready to leave God behind.  I believe He is there, loving me, you, all of us.  I believe that He is an artist.

It's the rest that I'm tired of trying to sift through.  Maybe you know what I mean.  It's the words in the Bible or on the lips of my brothers and sisters that sound like the words of abusers, dysfunctional-sounding words that I'm supposed to embrace as pure love, no questions asked.  And it's the rules, the absolute knowledge that is claimed about things of mystery, the conditions tacked onto Christ's unconditional love.

I am tired of trying to sort all this out, of all the should's, of all the extras when I just want Him.  I  want people to love unreservedly, and I want to love like that, too.  I want to climb a mountain and howl joy and grief and worship and love, to hear Spirit howling with me.

Instead I fold my hands and open those wispy pages of Words again and squint, trying to read Love between the lines.  I take my place in the pew, keep trying to force my boundless heart into my allotted space.  I call this "showing up," but really it is me trying to win the affections of my friends ahead of the approval of God, although I'm not sure all would agree with that assessment.  Not many think I can find God in the dark, and sometimes I let those opinions sway me from making my wild way toward Holy.

But it's a sacred dark, this black sea I am submerged in still, or again.  Womb-dark.  I don't know how long my soul's gestation will be in this deep and secret place, but I do know that I don't have to be anymore afraid of this darkness than a baby is afraid of the velvet black of his mother's womb.  I am in the belly of the beast, and maybe that scares you, but I am learning that the beast is really Beauty, and didn't Jacob wrestle with a glory-beaming angel until his body's breaking was his soul's mending?

I am not afraid of the dark {mostly}.  Are you?


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