Step 1:  Oppressing Darkness


Ripples of Darkness (Acrylic on Canvas) -- Layer One of Dark Night of the Soul


  God, you're my last chance of the day. I spend the night on my knees before you. 

   Put me on your salvation agenda; 

      take notes on the trouble I'm in. 

   I've had my fill of trouble; 

      I'm camped on the edge of hell. 

   I'm written off as a lost cause, 

      one more statistic, a hopeless case. 

   Abandoned as already dead, 

      one more body in a stack of corpses, 

   And not so much as a gravestone— 

      I'm a black hole in oblivion. 

   You've dropped me into a bottomless pit, 

      sunk me in a pitch-black abyss. 

   I'm battered senseless by your rage, 

      relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger. 

   You turned my friends against me, 

      made me horrible to them. 

   I'm caught in a maze and can't find my way out, 

      blinded by tears of pain and frustration. 

   I call to you, God; all day I call. 

      I wring my hands, I plead for help. 

   Are the dead a live audience for your miracles? 

      Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you? 

   Does your love make any difference in a graveyard? 

      Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell? 

   Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark, 

      your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory? 

   I'm standing my ground, God, shouting for help, 

      at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak. 

   Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear? 

      Why do you make yourself scarce? 

   For as long as I remember I've been hurting; 

      I've taken the worst you can hand out, and I've had it. 

   Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life; 

      I'm bleeding, black-and-blue. 

   You've attacked me fiercely from every side, 

      raining down blows till I'm nearly dead. 

   You made lover and neighbor alike dump me; 

      the only friend I have left is Darkness.

Psalm 88 (The Message)

I am quite fond of the Book of Psalms.  In the Psalms, we realize that we are not alone in what we are experiencing.  Here in this poetic book, we find an array of emotions.  Psalmists express how they are feeling and how they perceive God, at any given moment.  Whether their perceptions are accurate of God's nature, we realize that we are not alone.  We are not the first to rail against God.  To question God.  To misinterpret God's nature in the midst of our anguish.  

Have you ever felt like this Psalmist?  You have come to God in earnest prayer, yet God feels far away.  You feel like life is pure hell.  You feel isolated, alone, helpless.  You cry out, yet no one seems to hear.  You have wondered if you might be better off dead.  You are in the darkest and deepest of pits.  You even feel as if God is angry and raging against you.  You are lost in a maze.  Waves of darkness threaten to overwhelm you.  You start to hyperventilate.  It is as if you are walking through life without direction or purpose.  An elephant acts as a squatter on your chest.  It is hard to even breathe.  Perhaps you feel there is no one to turn to, no one to understand your anguish and pain.  Alone does not begin to describe where you are.  Your tears are all that seem to sustain you.  Although God is always loving you, you cannot feel or sense it.  Despair washes over you.  Desolation surrounds you.  In that moment, you may not even be able to see where God has been present . . . ever.  You may not even be able to recall those times where you knew that God is with you.

I can relate to the Psalmist.  I have experienced the Dark Nights of the Soul.  In one of those times I penned these words:

Dark Night of My Soul:

Darkness threatens to overwhelm me.  Sadness threatens to submerge me, yet again.

     Where is the light? 

          I cannot see my hand in front of my face.  The blackness is absolute.  

                    The weight and sorrow press in upon me. 

                          Lost.  Alone.  Wandering yet frozen in place.  Heaviness.  More than Grief.

                          Apathy.  Ennui.  Hard to Breathe.  It is like trying to breathe through water.  The air is dank. 

                          The walls press in.  Suffering.  

                     The chasm in my heart seems more than I can bear.

                           I am sinking  deeper beneath the crashing waves.  Helpless.  Lonely.

                           Greatly disappointed.  Waves of Darkness Wash Over Me.  Empty.  Desolate.

                           Claustrophobic.  Agony.

                      Words do not begin to capture how I feel

                 Will I ever see the light?  How long, O Lord, must your presence be far from me? 

            Will I find joy again?  Will peace ever come?  In what is there to hope?

       Shattered.  Brokenness.  Motionless.   

Surrendering to the Darkness.  Acquiescing to the Sadness. 

Sometimes you just have to accept the darkness.  Sometimes you just have to rest where you are.

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