Once you read the words, it’s hard to not think of an elephant. Having an image of an elephant doesn’t help, I suppose.
As I’ve prepared to journey, many friends have offered advice about how to walk; with an open heart, with an open soul, prepared to come home differently than I left. It’s been easy, though not necessarily virtuous, to take on those pieces of advice and wear them like a sports uniform, as if I’m playing a game. And, like a good ballplayer, I squat down and ready with a catcher’s mitt and wait for new goodness to enter…through my catcher’s mitt, in my time, on my terms. I’m thinking of the elephant.
However, growth rarely happens for me that way. In every instance I can think of, when I’ve had an epiphany, a revelation about some aspect of my life that hits me between the eyes it’s because I wasn’t looking, wasn’t thinking, wasn’t designing the moment. If I saw the revelation coming, I’d probably duck or run, or both!
In this context, John of the Cross’s Dark Night Of The Soul means something like this: If I know God is coming to visit, I’ll straighten the house, prepare a grandiose meal, bake a cake, prepare the best room for God’s extended stay, and iron my shirt so as to be prepared for the Creator of the Universe to enter my home. I want God to see and experience my best! Who wouldn’t?
But if God is coming to visit, presumably to answer my plea, to make me better, give me peace, give me bright futures…the only way to expand my heart to hold what I’m asking for, is for God to enter when I’m not looking, not awake, not aware. Only then can a seed of peace or wellness, or joy be planted to best me. If I see the ball, I’ll catch it my way. If God throws the ball when I’m not looking it will land where it needs to land….right between the eyes so that I “get the message” with clarity and conviction.
My prayer for the journey is that I dream about what could be, then surrender it. And that I don’t scheme up my own Dark Night Of The Soul, but just go to sleep. Love will make itself known to me in Love’s time, in Love’s way with a deep richness more plane and simple yet more grand and glorious than the largest of elephants.
Writing brings light to my journey. Thank you for reading.