The sickness comes when I least expect it. Days, weeks, months, they all blend the same, tearing through the liner of my body, burning my insides, no respite to the fire and struck so fiercely I’m rendered helpless but to succumb to its force.
For a long time I’ve fought and squirmed against it, wracking my body, shaking and heaving, in hopes I can move the mountain unyielding before me. This does not work. The pain persists, comes and goes when it wants, with authority.
Most recently, I somehow have been learning to embrace the pain. Not welcoming the pain—I’m not that good at desiring this, yet. I simply accept that it has come and my body must do what it must to quell the toxins writhing inside. I calm myself, breathe, “You’re ok,” and let it run its course, feel the ebb and flow of flare up and respite.
Does it make the pain easier? Certainly not. It makes the pain bearable. As I consciously align my mind with my body and accept this is natural course of rhythm in the staccato of sickness, I move with the pain. And I am more aware of life burning with care before my eyes.
So, too, this acceptance of spiritual pain. When we step into the dark, we tend to fidget and panic and crave out, scratching at the walls, looking for an exit. The more we move around, the more rubbed raw we get from the thorns.
Perhaps, instead of seeing the black night as a means to pass through to reach light, we must embrace it as a guide. Perhaps the dark season of life is part of our development, a holy pain that burns and purifies the rough edges of our soul.
Instead of seeking an end, accept. And rest, loosen your body and mind and soul and breathe, “You’re ok.” Allow God to do His desired work in you, and see the lack of sun as space for your heart to grow.
In the burden lies the blessing. We often miss this. Life is not about climbing as high as we are able to throw our good works and niceties at God’s feet. It is folding low, nose against the earth, curled in the complexity of human hearts which bleed and bruise. God comes close, enveloping us while we lie exposed. We acknowledge both sickness of soul and Soother. He takes these troubled times to touch us in places deep within, where we had no idea the layers could keep dissolving. Above all, He is after our core, the straight-eyed image of self, who we are when guests have gone and we’re left standing naked in front of the mirror. He will use whatever is necessary to turn our attention to the truth we hide and hold onto with sweaty hands.
Holiness hurts. Yet running from it will not get us anywhere. For the sake of sacred, do not resist the careful surgery God works in our tender chambers. See lack of light as a blessed space, where we can offer the fight to keep our soul and let God move the pain the way He needs to move us. Without sight, we look with our hearts, hear the small voice still the frantic beats. Love within the lash.
Breathe. You’re ok.