I am so grateful as of late for my directees. Recently, it feels to me like God is distant and quiet. This isn't the first time this has happened. And it won't be the last. It isn't as disturbing as it used to be...I've journeyed enough to know that God can feel both fully present and fully absent at the same time. He is immanently transcendent. He is transcendently immanent. Though I don't feel he is "near" I am yet reassured somewhere deep in my soul that I am held together by the One who both unravels me and holds all things together at the same time.
I don't know if the sense of absence (or quiet) that is present right now is his or my doing. I assume it's mine - I'm so overwhelmed at times by the massive amounts of transition in my life this past year that I wonder if my anxieties are choking me being able to "hear the word of God." I want to be "good" soil not rocky soil and instantly wonder how I am failing to be good soil. I write that and yet in a deep calls to deep place, I actually know that it's different. As an adult child having growing up in a multigenerational system of people struggling with alcohol and "religion" (both environments often have a "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel" tenor to them), I have learned to instantly blame myself as the problem. Shoot - I thought I was getting better at not doing that.
Enter directees - these dear sweet souls who are willing to let me have the honor to companion them (and they me) as we walk along like the two on the road to Emmaus questioning, "What the hell is happening?" These directees are so courageous and at times, though they think they are coming to me for help, the reality of any good journeying is that we both are blessed because the One who walks with us has a habit of causing our hearts to burn in the midst of our rantings. It has been in my sessions with directees that the Lord is speaking to me...I am able to "borrow" faith from them as I see God actively pursuing their hearts in ways that I can only sit back and proclaim, "I can't make this stuff up!" I am not jealous for how God is speaking to them and not to me. I am so delighted. For me, though, God is currently quite quiet (or more likely just manifesting at a different level like a dog whistle that only dogs can hear...but I can't quite catch it...yet.)
I read a Barbara Brown Taylor quote this week. She, like Moses* (and many other deep souls before her) dared to enter the dark cloud where God is. In her book, "Learning to walk in the dark" she writes of a lunar spirituality...one that has light and dark...one that accepts that the light of the moon waxes and wanes and never looks the same way any two nights in a row. The many fluctuations and nuances of the moon are normal...not a sign that something's wrong. In that she ponders,
What would my life with God look like if I trusted this rhythm instead of opposing it" (9).
There has been something inherently liberating in holding the question in my own soul. It hasn't solved a blasted thing. I still have all my anxieties, doubts, fears, struggles. And, instead, I am trusting that even these will lead me toward the ability to receive all that the dark has to reveal to me, as well as the light.
* Ex 20:21, 19:9