Step 2:  Relying on Other Senses


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

The darkness remains.  The darkness lasts longer than ever anticipated.  Just when you think you may glimpse light in the distance it is snuffed out.  Tsunamis of despair threaten to overwhelm.  The darkness closes in, threatening to suffocate.  Sobbing makes it hard to breathe deeply.  Rage pops off in random ways.  Confusion and chaos swamp the soul.  

In the midst of one of my dark times, I allowed the grief to explode out of me in this painting:  

DSC 0009

Explosive Grief (Acrylic on Canvas)

Even in the midst of my darkness there seems to be a little light and hope.  In some ways my heart feels as if it is hemorrhaging all over the place.  Fire threatens to consume.  Yet vines of hope and journey make their way across my weary soul.

What is necessary?  Take time to stop.  Be still.  Focus on breathing . . ..  Do not panic.  Breathe in, slowly.  Counting to 10.  Exhaling slowly.  Counting to 10.  Repeat until there is peace.  Breathe our fear, despair, and frustration.  Breathe in peace, love, and hope.  Rest in the darkness.  Accept where you are.  

It is here that we rely on our other senses.  When we are amidst the darkness we are temporarily blinded.  When we cannot trust what we see, we have to listen harder.  We take note of the aromas and the tastes.  We feel our way through the darkness.

Amidst the darkness, we are not truly alone.  Yet our ability to sense God is hindered.  Our ability to reach out to others is hampered.  Amidst the darkness we are most aware of our utter aloneness, absorbed in our own grief and isolation.  It is harder to notice the God of love walking with us through the darkness.  It is tougher to sense those friends in our lives who come along side.  It is when we calm ourselves, breathing in the Holy Spirit, and breathing out the hopelessness that our other senses start to heighten.  When we are amdist the darkness, we start to be able to hear things we overlooked before.  Our sense of touch becomes ever more important.  The smells around us cue us to things we might have disregarded, earlier.

So as we find ourselves still in the darkness, let us slow down.  Let us accept where we are.  Let us be willing to rest in the darkness.  Let us be willing to use our other senses to navigate our way.  Stop.  Reflect.  Ponder.  Begin to try to pray.  For we are not truly alone.  We live in God's world.  And God's nature is truly love.  God will never leave us, abandon us, or forsake us.  God's love never fails us.

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