Now that you've ruined my life...
You took my heart, stole every part
And made it a miracle
Now I can sing, sing a new song
The burden's gone
A great many of those who know me will have heard that the last several years have been really tough on me and Paul, financially, personally, spiritually. It's been a drought on a lot of levels, time filled with work and determination and a lot of love. Though I know it is ungracious to Paul, whenever people talk about the honeymoon period of our marriage I usually can't help but let out a little derisive laughter, but I'm working on that. I'm working on bearing through suffering with patience. It's not that I've suffered because of Paul, Paul's as wonderful as any human could ever be, it's just that our lives have been far from easy with the path we chose, and our love is forged in a painful fire - strong, but not floating on top of care. Those who haven't seen just how much slogging we've done together joke about our love "wearing off" and nothing could be further from the truth. We are more in love and have no intention of ceasing work on the house of love we're cobbling together out of all the best of what we have to give.
The worst of this time I speak of, and the thing I didn't share with many people, is how utterly deserted I felt by the God I had been so close to for my whole young life. Those who have experienced it in the faith call it the Dark Night of the Soul. Desolation. Loneliness, but on a deeper level than the lack of companionship. Silence where the voice was before. It's not all that uncommon, of course, for someone to go through this and remain faithful. Many assured me that it happens to the greatest of saints, those who were closest to God notice his perceived silence more, it's only natural. These comments, made by half a dozen people over the course of my own darkness, were not particularly great consolation. Many of the greatest saints' lives (and deaths) were, shall we say, rather uncomfortable. Not only that, but when the phenomenon is observed in their lives, it sometimes lasts for a decade or more where faith alone is solace and nothing is felt or heard close to the heart. I had brief moments of contact with the God I knew, but they were like a cup of water in the desert night, almost a mirage, just barely real.
I had been in a faith crisis for many years that I had managed to maintain some balance in. After death stole three men horribly while I was in University - a man whose life was a breath of fresh air to me, a man who was always on the fence about good and evil, and a man I had dearly wished revenge upon, I was shaken to my core, and forced to begin resolving some beliefs that did not match my experience. Not my experience alone, but both mine and that of the world around me, the human problem. After that splintering of faith, I clung to what I knew and continued my search for truth in earnest.
Then, as I met and loved the great love of my life and love grew and flourished in my life, I felt connected to God again in a great way. And just as suddenly, the door slammed shut. And for a long time, I couldn't figure out a why, which drove me crazy. Now I think the answer might have been so I would seek Him again, not just his voice or his presence.
As many wise folk may tell you, one thing that has always been true about the truth is that you might not like it. Truth may resonate or grate like sandpaper, neither of those reactions are germane to the veracity of truth. Truth shines like precious metal, but its cutting edge is razor sharp.
I think I've found a pretty big chunk of truth. I may love it and embrace it, but I don't like all of it and it doesn't make "perfect sense" in each facet, but that's enormously reassuring. It's probably real truth if it's too big for me to comprehend and too grating for me to fully embrace it without discomfort.
You offered me eternity,
But why should I buy that?
Before and during my Sabbatical, I've been tackling some pretty core changes to my beliefs head on, and I've made some decisions that have brought me great peace. I'd be pleased to share in more detail with anyone who asks, but I am still figuring it all out myself. I'm not there yet. I've grown enough to honestly realize I won't ever find a destination, this side of heaven. But I can still be the annoying kid who keeps asking... Are we there yet?
My child, my child, I am always here...
I'd leave 99, leave them all behind
To find you