"In those moments where we cannot see God, when we imagine a false picture of the Father in our hearts, we react. We feel as though we are no longer sons and daughters, but orphans on the run... Without a clear vision of God-with-us and a sense of the Sprit working around us, we retract and close up. The pain, guilt and loneliness become too much for us. We cannot carry it, so we cover ourselves as best as we can. We busy ourselves with work and shallow pursuits, and we set our imaginations running after anything that will ease the pain. And those who simply do not have the energy, well, they give up. As apathy and fatalism set in many people simply become numb to life and to their neighbour. They cannot see who they are, who God is, and those who live around them. The strangest part is that we can do this all with a contrived smile, thinking, 'This is just how things go.' All the while life piles up around us. It’s an ensnaring vortex that starts when our eyes are closed."
Closed. I sat in a waiting room this afternoon reading these words from my friend Preston Pouteaux. They brought me into a prophetic reflection of this morning's eclipse and the event of the world being drawn to witnessing the astrological wonder where the celestial orbit of the moon cast a dusk like shadow across the earth as it passed between our planets orbit and the ever present light of the sun. Emotions were high. Expectation. Mystery. Even a little fear.
It seems remarkable to think about the few moments when something so big would cut us off from the very hope of the rising sun. Could the moon truly be so engulfing as to keep our whole world in the dark, chilled by the loss of natural warmth, and estranged from the promise of the day's light.
These words took me deeper, to a place where darkness had cast its shadow over my own soul. A place that Macarius describes: "The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and also lions. There are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil."
I don't talk publicly about this place much but, the truth is, I struggle with a deeply hidden depression. It is a place that really only my wife has seen. It is a place I question, what purpose or significance do I have in this world? What do I have to show for my 39 years of life? If I disappeared, would the world even know that I'm gone?
I wrestle demons that whisper the words, "You do not belong here." "You have no place, no role in your community." "You do not fit in anywhere." "Nobody cares about what you write, what you think, what ideas you share, what you might know, or what hopes and dreams you have." "Everything you say, you do, is meaningless and nothing but crap!" And lately, there is even the eminent premonition of coming death.
What manner of body or force is this that eclipses the vision or hope of God being with me and the kingdom drawing near? Is it "sin"? Is it demonic attack? Is it the sacrificial walk of a prophet in the confines of a broken world? A place where prejudices confine, relationships fail, and the decay of communal and personal keeping becomes lost under mini delusionary monarchies?
Even my language fails me as just like we know the sun is still there when the moon passes overhead in darkness, I know God is still there and his kingdom remains eternal. As Macarius continues about the heart: "But there too is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace - all things are there."
I deeply desire, I hunger for the rediscovery of wonder in life. I try to take steps forward in dreams and aspirations but there is still a fear. Is this just another attempt at covering the reality of my insignificance? Will this just be another place of example that my efforts are lacking and insignificant?
I know that I am not alone as a person who struggles with the eclipsing of one's soul, just as I know the only way to truly combat it is to expose it to the light of a shared community. Will anyone read this? Will anyone truly care? In truth, I don't really know. I just keeping trying to open my eyes. I just keep holding onto the promise of Voltaire who said, "The burning of a little straw may hide the stars, but the stars outlast the smoke."