I tried to write you, blinking lines on blank pages, black letters faded to white, deleted posts and forgotten poems.  Nothing seemed to suffice. The past year has been extremely difficult. I have watched dreams slip through fingers and felt the sand sucked out from under my feet. I have discovered that the things that used to make me tick no longer hold the joy they once did. Everything felt like a tedious walk in a dark room scattered with legos. I have felt the existential pull of doubt and recklessly answered. A couple weeks ago, I sat across the table from a dear friend. She said I looked like I had been enlightened. I laughed. The  countless months prior had been a journey into the heart of despair and doubt. And then I shared what I had discovered… darkness was a gift.

In experiencing deep doubt, I found a sweet place where the Divine hides. Far too often we are afraid of the dark. We have forgotten that even though captivity lasts for seventy more years, He promises that if we seek Him we will find Him. And I’ve found him in the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected people, and it is so sweet to love beyond fear- beyond doubt. Doubt is never the end of faith. It is never the enemy. It is the beginning. Darkness never erases our memory of light, it only strengthens it.

I have learned of a beautiful game of cosmic hide and seek. Darkness, suffering, doubt, they are all invitations into a world of hiding places- into a world beyond the immediate. When I was a child, I was a master of hiding in obvious places. There was a massive hill just below our house and I loved laying on the grass, just below the edge, so that the seeker looked at the horizon and did not know that I was just over the edge, yards away from home. I loved hiding in shadows. If you were still enough, you could hide almost anywhere and not be found. Sometimes, I feel like the spiritual life is just like that. We are so quick to rush around looking for God, when if we would stop and listen and observe we would find Him in the places just below the horizon, the shadowlands.

Darkness. Absence. Those scary words most believers shy away from. Dark nights of the soul are okay because they are only nights. Fleeting moments of darkness. It is never true darkness. But, sometimes they last longer than a night. Sometimes, it takes faith to believe in the stars ever-present beyond the storm cloud. Light is never ceasing, it is always there, sometimes we just forget what we are looking for. Courage, dear heart, courage is required to play in the dark. 

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