Maybe it’s the change of weather that’s got me feeling off-kilter. Maybe it’s getting less sleep now that I’m having to follow a school schedule. Maybe it’s the reports of friends and family members who are weathering emotional storms. Maybe it’s the chaos and cruelty of this world of suicide bombings and government killings and hordes of natural disasters.
Or maybe it’s none of these, just the thoughts in my own head swirling and whirling into a darkness of its own making. Whatever the cause, I feel the tendrils of that darkness around the edges of my world.
That darkness, it doesn’t scare me, but I think that maybe it should. It comes as an old friend, and it comes feeling like truth, like the water’s undertow. I feel its pull, and all I have to do is to let go, stop fighting, and it will ease me under the water away from the chaos and cruelty. In lighter moments I know I have to work against its pull, but always, always the easier path is just letting the water carry me under. It’s so easy. And that, I think, is why it should scare me.
But that ease – it’s not truth, just as the darkness is not truth. I’m working with the Biblical prophets right now, who were faced with a desolation I have never known, the destruction of their homes and dismantling of their culture. In the midst of the devestations coming to them from the outside in the form of armies and exile, they called for their people to look inside, into their own actions and intentions, for the cause. They thundered against those who tried to use ritual as a magic charm to ward off evil and railed against the lack of compassion they beheld all around. They saw the darkness and they called it by name – even when the name was their own.
The darkness, though, was never the final word for the prophets. They saw clouds of despair enveloping everything they knew and they acknowledged their complicity in bringing on those clouds, but they also looked beyond the despair, and to something more than hope – to a certainty that one day the darkness would lift and the truth, which is like joy, would once more be visible. The darkness, they saw, wasn’t the point of the story, just a plotline development designed to move the story forward to its inevitable ending in the presence of God.
The thing is, I know that’s the ending of my story, too, and of all stories. My old friend the darkness may come and go, I may give in to the undertow or I may fight it, but through paths and plotlines that I cannot now fathom, inevitably, inescapably, the story will end in truth and in knowledge. It will end in the presence of God, because that’s where the story always is anyway, whether I can see it or not.