*Caroline Kaufman. light filters in: poems.
* * *
Is this hell? This feels like it, not fire, but hopeless, or maybe a place where not even hopeless is welcome. I'm not sure sadness could survive here.
I've never met you before
if I could name you, that would help, at least some
but you're nameless
you're faceless, using my face
you're not depression, I know that well. I remember that taking me to the precipice of life, as I stared motionless into the deathly vale
no, that's not you, if so, I'd know what to do
I can't do, I can't do! only endure you
* * *
I'm looking into the mirror attached to the window of my truck, while parishioners are entering a side-door of the sanctuary, getting seated for the administrative team and I, the pastor, to meet.
I don't want to be here, not in this town, not at this church, not with this people. Yet, I know this nameless looking back at me is about something more; appearing uncaused, not attached to what I do or don't want, like a meaningless appendage hanging from a border of my life, contextless, pulseless, meanacely quiet, yet thundering with threat.
* * *
I've just returned two weeks from my pastoral duties, my new church, from enjoying good food, cycling, music, and the fun of love-making with my new girlfriend.
I look at the expressionless face
looking back into my eyes
my face, my eyes
is anything there? anyone?
* * *
I spent many weeks walking about in this spiritless state. My body a sandy wasteland, every potential source of refreshment turned to mirage before I could sate my weary, torpid self.
nights a relief
forgetting the wearisome waste
awakening in the dark
dread present, faceless eyes staring into my heart
glad if womb of night still pregnant with light not born
to open me wide
brain and bone and blood
to daytime, daily nightmare again
till I could sleep sightless
the specter of this unfathomable void
veiling my heart
from all wooings of Love and Life
God, where are you? You there?
this kind of silence
a lover of
the other Silence
long loved, friend, delight
(did I betray You
* * *
Spirituality, as life, is sometimes putting one foot in front of the other, for that is all you can do. Spirituality is about not giving up on Life, or yourself, and keeping hope alive even when you cannot feel but hopeless.
sometimes, you just live through a void, a darkness
and by some Grace
you come out the other side of the dark, empty tunnel
to Joy waiting to embrace you again
not knowing how
and that's okay
you didn't give up
you didn't give in
you didn't lose your love for Life
even when it seemed Life didn't love you anymore
Congratulations! you deserve it
always a gift
the darkness too
even when the tomb seems empty
there we find Christ, waiting caressed by night
to come out once more into the Light
and, He did
yes, He does
and, you too
* * *
During the many weeks of this darkness, I continued to smile at my parishioners, leading worship, attending meetings, visiting those in need of pastoral care, meditating and praying, cycling, making love, and writing. I laughed when needed to, even if the laugh was not in me. I smiled often, as was expected of me. I kept loving, even those I didn't want to be with, but seemed stuck with ~ and remained with them for 2 years, thankfully without this darkness reappearing once more. My congregants, they never knew what happened, only that I kept about my duties, smiling some, laughing some, and serving daily.
Recalling this almost 10 years later, I see those weeks as a walking death, yet as a gift too. One compliment for me, possibly, is I didn't dump this misery on the people I served, I didn't dump it on anyone. I simply lived it and without knowing if I would ever feel alive again, I lived it to the marrow of bereaved bone. The only ones privy to this, that I can recall of, was my girlfriend and another person I trusted as a spiritually-hearted being. I did not seem able to be hopeless, yet unable to hope.
I marvel to this day
the cloud mass parted
and Sun again poured its Light upon my squinting eyelids and happy skin
new life again!
and like a once wilted, flagging, death darksome Rose
ecstatic petals opened wide imbibing of Life and Love
* * *
not even daring me to trust
for a slither of hopeful light
the unheard voice said
now, I might not be able to chase the ghost away
or turn it into friend
still I would know the name of that haunting
and that could help to live with the haunting
so, what did I do?
kept living doing praying loving
now recall gratefully the day
walking toward my office alone
why it came?
why, how left?
hope here again
in the darkness cherished
held myself in all the dark of day and night
pray always will
I, yes, I
returned to Life!
* * *
*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at email@example.com .
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.