Step 4:  Light Enfolding


Once we've realized the chasm we are experiencing, there is but one necessary thing . . . Pray.  Rest in God's care.  Let God's light enfold us.  How do we pray?1  For me, it is time to paint through the tears, and follow where they lead.  It is time to accept the darkness full in the face and pray through avenues like creative expression, journaling, and stillness.  Pray however works for you.  Do not be afraid to rage against God.  God is big enough to handle your anger.  God's love is bigger than your doubt and fear.  We let the Light enfold us not by avoiding the darkness but by being willing to journey through it.  

Enfolding Light

Light Enfolding (Computer Enhanced Acrylc on Canvas)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—

they comfort me.

                                                    Psalm 23:4 (NRSV)

Sometimes I think this verse should read:  Even though I crawl through the darkest valley . . ..  When we are in the midst of the Dark Night of the Soul, we may not even be able to stand, but we press on.

I remember watching a West Wing Episode where Leo is talking to Josh and tells this story:

This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out.  A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?"  The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?"  The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.  Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole.  Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out."

from The West Wing, Second Season, Episode: "Noël"

So it is with God.  Although we may feel like a lost sheep trapped in a bottomless pit, God is there as the Perfect Shepherd with God's rod and staff to help, protect, and guide us.  And God's presence acts as a source of comfort, love, and peace.  The beautiful thing about us letting the Light enfold us is that God, who is the Ultimate Light, is always seeking us.  God is already reaching out to us, lifting us up from the bottomless pit, placing us on a rock, giving us stability and hope.  God lovingly binds up our wounds and breathes God's healing Spirit over us.  God opens our eyes so that we have new eyes to see.

Will the pain be forgotten? Erased? By no means.  When I was painting the door, I realized an insight into the process of healing.  The edge of the door that I was painting was rotted and falling to pieces.  I lovingly began to apply gesso.  Gesso has the viscosity of Elmer's glue.  You apply it in layers.  Between each layer you have to allow time for it to dry.  Eventually these layers form a surface upon which one can paint.  Does the gesso completely obliterate the trench or fill the gap.  No.  What the gesso does is bind up and heal.  The scarring is still evident, but the gesso provides a new start, a surface on which to paint and move on.  So it is with God's grace.  Long before we ever realize our need for God.  Long before we ever start to seek God, God is already there reaching out to us, making a way where there seems to be no way.  God who is Immanuel, literally "the with us God," meets us where we are in the hole, shining God's light in the midst of our darkness, tranforming us into a new creation.  Where we have been and what we have been through will always be with us, but it does not have the final word. 

May we always be willing to walk through the Dark Night of the Soul, knowing that though the journey may seem, at times,  unbearble, it is well worth it.  May your Dark Nights of the Soul be few but meaningful.  And may God's loving presence enfold and heal you, drawing you close.  May God climb down in the hole with you and carry you out.  May you know the heart of God more because you were willing to walk through the darkest valley.  May you find shalom, joy, and peace, abiding peace.  And may God's Spirit sustain you all the days of your life.  Amen.  


1  Alternative ways of praying is part of the ministry of Grace Works Studio.  If you are interested in artistic ways of praying, please check out Delving Deeper and Branching Out.  You can also book a personal retreat, whereby Charissa will come and guide you through alternative ways of connecting with God.

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