tonight, while driving to visit a friend, i saw a heavy, dark rain cloud lingering in the distance. it hovered low over fields and trees and from the distance, i could see thin streaks of rain falling. i watched in wonder and terror awe from my sunny side on the road and and decided quite confidently that i would stay dry.
even kept my window down.
“i’ll be fine,” i thought.
still, only minutes later, as the road turned and my direction shifted, large lumpy raindrops plopped onto my windshield and i quickly rolled up the window.
almost immediately, the raindrops joined with other raindrops, turned into big hail drops and multiplied until i could hardly see the road in front of me. cars slowed, puddles splashed, and it seemed like everything was white ahead of me, the heavy rain blocking the view. i prayed and kept going, following distantly and slowly behind a large truck while its oversized tires pushed mountainous amounts of water my way.
i wasn’t sure if the road was flooded or if the water gushing down made it look like waves crashing, but all i know is: I WAS SCARED.
Ironically, the song playing on my CD rang out, “I feel the rains of Your love, Let it rain, Let it rain.” Did I ask for this to come? Did I invite the dark, heavy rains to fall?
I couldn’t help but thinking about the current “storm” I’ve been in.
And wondering how I even got here.
Though there was no immediate rain fall, the storm came quickly, heavy and strong. How many times since have I asked,
“Did I ask for this? Did I cause this? What did I do wrong?“
“It’s amazing how you can everything just happening and life just moving along, and then one day wake up to discover, like St. John of the Cross, your “house being now all stilled.” It’s not that you have let loose the truth that tethers your soul to Christ, it’s just that everything has gone quiet. And dark. ” (Kim Thomas)
Sometimes we don’t even know we’re in the deep end of despair until we get pain in our neck from having to look up from the bottom all the time. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re on a certain road until miles have made their way to the soles of our feet, until the black clouds have opened up and lumpy raindrops have wet our skin.
As I continued to make my way through the rain tonight, I passed by several cars pulled over to the side, just stopped. I considered pulling over myself, but the thought of being stuck in storm scared me more. I wanted to get out of it. I kept going.
Some short miles later, with my hands tightly gripped to the wheel, my tires met real road, not water, and blue sky beckoned just ahead. I had made it through the storm and the light was returning and I felt calm. and thankful. and free.
I remembered the cars stopped along the road and thought,
“If only you could just keep going, keep driving a little more, you would get here and see the beautiful sky waiting, the beautiful world just up ahead…”
It gave me hope.
In the dark night of my soul, which St. John of the Cross refers to as the “dense and burdensome cloud which afflicts the soul and keeps it withdrawn my God,” I can be confident of this: I am not alone. There are good things waiting. It’s just up ahead..
I must keep going.
I must keep going because I simply can’t stop here.
I don’t want to be stuck.
Also, I know that dark nights eventually yield growth.
Seeds lie dormant until they are in the right condition.
Only after the night comes day, comes light.
“If, as I wait in the dark, in the quiet uncertainty, I will feed myself the proper soul nourishment, the hard shell of my heart will be broken and exposed. It is only then that I can begin to grow new roots that will sustain me despite the bruising and withering I will endure.” (Kim Thomas).
And when I falter to believe it’s worth the journey, when I fumble for strength, I am reminded of my great Lord pressing on, preserving for the Father’s will. But for the joy set before Him, He endured the despair of humanity, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You & I are pilgrims on this journey of life, sojourners in a land where inevitably, storms will come, rain will fall, moth and dust will destroy. But we have a hope and we lock our eyes with His, pressing on. & we just keep going. Like all nomads, if we don’t keep walking, we’ll die. There are better days ahead.
Just keep going.
Just keep going.
We will get through this.
"Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord." (Isaiah 50:10)
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions
themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign
tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you
would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the
questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along
some distant day into the answer.”(Rainer Marie Wilke)