These past weeks really have begun to follow a pattern, the same one we've been exploring in the Turtlebox spiritual-nurture group. Last post I discussed the dark night of the soul, which was also the topic of Thursday's Turtlebox and my most-attended session. I had provided a warning that this was a difficult topic and, still, they came.
That was an affirmation I sorely needed as I had been struggling with some doubt in my own dark night.
|Fallen/pastel on paper|
Last Sunday, I experienced a very deep and powerful worship, though I had no vocal ministry, which is rare. I was almost so deep, I couldn't move. Our minister noticed, saying I didn't seem my usual self and suggested we talk. Automatically and surprisingly, I agreed. When I mentioned the dark night, she got all giddy and excused herself to return with a passage from a book on the dark night she had copied for some reason: me, she now believed. Then the talk turned to my ministry and how the Meeting has been puzzled that I haven't finished applying for funding. That when they created the fund, they all had me in mind: a person with many gifts and not in a regular job. She reiterated the Quaker notion of releasing one for ministry by financially helping with living expenses.
I had not been ready for this step because of my doubts, but now see that I am. Another affirmation.
In reading an e-mail from a Quaker friend who plans to volunteer this week with Artsy Fartsy, she said the nominating committing had just met and discussed my "sold vocal ministry." I thanked her on both counts and said I was grateful for the vote of confidence as I struggle with doubt.
A third affirmation.
After posting the last blog on dark night, a wonderful Quaker/writer/friend said it was one he'd read again because it applied so well to his current experience. Then he thanked me for sharing my explorations. I expressed my gratitude, mentioning that I often feel like Bridget Jones who says, at one point, that she doesn't need another person to tell her she's messed up because she feels that way most of the time.
A fourth affirmation.
Unexpectedly, my husband brought a letter to me to the studio. When I ripped it open – it was from a grant funder to whom I'd applied – a check for the total amount of my request spilled out. "Thank you for your commitment to the children in your community," it concluded.
Yet another VERY concrete affirmation.
The doubt really has dissipated along with the dark night. One of the wise women who has been attending Tutlebox said a spiritual director told her a long time ago that God is in your dreams and desires, not the doubt.
I believe that again.
And as we talked about Thursday at Turtlebox, the dark night strips us of ego and things of the world, so we may lose ourselves more fully in Spirit's flow of love, which I am feeling so powerfully and gratefully again.
I am living my dreams, not my doubts.
• When I have felt connected to Spirit, then separated?
• How did I experience that darkness and separation?
• What kept me going?
• If reconnection happened, what was that like?
• Where are my current dreams taking me?
A classic case:
months of near ecstasy
visions and images
best I've been
so open, I
it comes crashing
old stuff ...
crud that was
like a tether
to the old me
the one trapped
and I stewed there
until I began
just where I
was – a
soon it was
time to emerge
baggage is gone
and my heart
Listen to this post: