Dark and Light

“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.”
Rumi

Sometimes a post has no particular impetus of origin. Nothing dictated, no particular catalyst.
Other times there is an inner nudging–an internal pushing of the writer toward a specific topic and / or subject.
And so it is today. . .

No Light:
DSCN3076

Now with light:
DSCN3078

One minute we’re void of color, perched within a tonal world of black, white and grey.. .
Add a little light. . .
and Voila, bathed now in full warm radiant color!
Amazing what a little light on the subject, or in this case, under the subject, can do!!

Which brings us to the quote by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi. . .
I think most of us would be hard pressed to agree with the afore mentioned sentiment “what hurts us, blesses us.” Not unless some of us like that sort of thing and then I think that just brings up an area that deals in negative psychology, human behavior, masochism. . . and that is certainly not where I’m wishing to go this morning.. .

Now back to darkness and blessings. . .
St John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish Mystic, wrote extensively on this very subject in both his Ascent of Mount Carmel as well as the follow-up, the Dark Night of the Soul
With the latter acting as a balm to ones tried and tired soul, albeit a bit heavy and deep to wade through. The language is of the poetic and very deep indeed. Remember, we’re talking about mysticism which is indeed rooted in a deep internal journey to the discovery of a relationship with God as Creator on a level other than the obvious and more than what most of us tend to be familiar with.

It is this very “book” and of St John of the Cross himself, in which Karol Wojtyla, a once young Polish catholic priest, chose to write his dissertation– actually writing it in Spanish as to fully understand and appreciate the original translation of St John’s work. We should note that this young priest later went on to become Pope John Paul II.

I dare say we have all suffered through dark nights of the soul throughout our lives at some time or another. Sometimes these dark times seem to last an eternity. Other times, thankfully, they are brief encounters. It is my experienced belief that those of us who are deep feelers, meaning those who internalize a great deal as well as those who tend to ruminate over much of life, tend to be a bit more inclined to these darker bouts.

Churchill had his “black dog” and Mother Teresa is said to have confessed in her private journals of a very dry and dark suffering which she felt throughout much of her adult life as her life seemed terribly void of God’s presence. Parents who have lost children suffer grievously this darkness, as do any of us who have lost loved ones.

Be it circumstance or disposition, the Darkness can be a very real and a very difficult place to find oneself–particularly for any length of time. Which brings us to the Light.

Padre Pio, a recently canonized capuchin monk, from a very impoverished area in Southern Italy, also knew a thing or two of the struggles with Darkness. His is indeed an interesting story, one we don’t have time to delve into here but I do recommend that you perhaps find a good biography to peruse as his is a story of stigmata’s, struggles with evil, bilocation, healing, witch hunts, humility and endurance.

It is Padre Pio who tells us to take courage when we feel as if we are plagued by sadness and Darkness– it is during such times that God actually draws closest to us. I’ve written on this subject before yet I feel it has much merit in being repeated as we all suffer at some point in this life. If we live, inevitably we will suffer—sadly that’s just the way of life.

I have been known to curse the darkness as well as the light, Life— and I have even been known to yell and scream at God. Anguish can be a very lonely frustrating place. I certainly have not felt heavenly supported during such dark times but it is said that an army of God’s angels envelope us during such trials—which in hindsight is a welcomed blessing.

All I know is that God is not immune to our suffering. He does not cause it, puppeteer it, manipulate it, or sadisticly enjoy it as many have attempted accusing Him of throughout history. He weeps with us and His anguish is deep. As beings who live with free will, in a fallen world, there will always remain sickness, sadness, evil, pain and suffering–such is life in a fallen world.
I say that as not to cause discouragement. Remember there is hope, kindness, mercy and Grace…but this is not that post. This post is merely about dark and light.

To offer comfort to those of you who are currently in a place of dry darkness is not an easy task. I personally tend to go within myself and there’s not much anyone can say or do which helps at those times—it is only once I emerge that I can appreciate the loving intentions of others. It also does me a wealth of goodness to read such works as St John’s —as well as the words of the Psalmist as his lamentations and yearnings are so very timeless. Often knowing that others have suffered in one form or another and yet survived can, to me, act as a morsel of hopefulness.

May you, who are currently in the midst of a dry and dark place, find the solace of a loving Father. May you weather the storm raging within or bear that of the silent emptiness. May you be encouraged that you are never alone–as countless fellow journeymen have borne similar burdens as there is a host of the unseen warriors of Heaven who have readied themselves to engulf you Life is hard, often heavy with its share of darkness–yet thankfully it is always countered by the light of love, laughter and that of the human connection.

“Bear in mind that the more the enemy assaults you, the closer God is to your soul. Think about, and penetrate this great and comforting truth.” Padre Pio

4 comments on “Dark and Light

  1. ptero9 says:

    “He weeps with us and His anguish is deep.” Love this…

    Hi Julie,
    Suffering is so deeply personal, perhaps that is why we feel so alone during those times. For myself, I can say that having an experience of deep healing that was a bit “other worldly,” and did lead me to place of deep, lasting and profound change at the core of my being, I do see my suffering as a blessing. As well, it was the working through of life-long issues that led to my experience of healing that have shown me that suffering can have meaning.

    Having said that, I would never wish for anyone to suffer, but, suffering is no doubt, a universal experience. Our culture does not do a very good job of giving suffering a place in our lives, and that, I think, leads to more suffering.

    I love reading about the lives of the saints, and Padre Pio is a favorite of mine. Thanks for writing about a difficult, but important topic.
    xxx
    Debra

    • Oh Debra–I’m so pleased you liked the post—it’s one of those you wonder if you should even publish it or not as it may be something folks don’t want to read about—it’s not the most uplifting—but not everyone is in a good place today so if just one person in need stumbles their way to reading it, then it has not been in vain.
      I agree with you about our Western culture not addressing sorrow and suffering as it should—we tend to blow off the negative in our society, dismissing it and those caught in the web, very quickly. And you are right—I am a firm believer in the notion that if it doesn’t kill us, it does make us stronger. I’ve been in some dark places during this life of mine—often feeling the hole insurmountable—and had it not been for God’s Grace, I wouldn’t or couldn’t have not only survived, but pulled myself out being even the better for it—people can say what they will about God and Grace, but I know without a doubt that Grace has brought me to where I am today. Now I know we all live a foot step away from suffering and sorrow—but to have faith during such has been my only life line!!
      hugs to you in beautiful Oregon—Go Ducks and Beavers 🙂
      Julie

  2. You wondered if you should even post this??? You just keep knocking my socks off with these amazing posts and you wonder if you should post them.
    Cookie, Cookie, Cookie. When something this powerful and insightful comes from your heart, YES you should share it. If fact it is the Lord’s wish that you do share such experiences. We are supposed to keep other lifted up and encouraged which is what this kind of narrative does. We do all have dark night’s of the soul, and I like you tend to withdraw within in the beginning, but when the light finally shines in my darkness, it is the light of that lamp I am commanded to share. So let that sweet little light of yours shine, shine, shine. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂

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