Dark nights and blessings...
Another theme that keeps popping up in my spiritual life - besides that of feasting with God - is how there are blessings to be found even in our dark nights. For most of adult life I thought about God's kingdom only in terms of light - sometimes just happiness and/or good times - mostly because I had no model for discerning the blessings of the darkness.
Which isn't to say, of course, that I hadn't experienced darkness - but I never knew how to find the blessings within the darkness. The music of Portishead is an ally - the writings of Thomas Moore, Robert Bly, Anne Lamott and Gerald May are friends for this journey, too. Perhaps the most edifying, however, comes from the lament of Mother Theresa who experienced a "dark night" throughout her public ministry.
“In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss,” she wrote in 1959, “of God not wanting me — of God not being God — of God not existing.” According to the book, this inner turmoil, known by only a handful of her closest colleagues, lasted until her death in 1997. Think about that: from the beginning of her new public ministry until her death, this modern saint did not feel the loving embrace of God's grace she had always known.
As James Martin wrote in the NY Times: "Mother Teresa’s ministry with the poor won her the Nobel Prize and the admiration of a believing world. Her ministry to a doubting modern world may have just begun."
To this my ups and downs seem like dust in the wind.