The Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul, almost everyone experiences it but few talk about it.  Perhaps they are unaware of how to identify, much less understand it.  It has been described as “a spiritual depression,” “a spiritual detoxification,” a ” long winter of the soul.”  When it happens, a person feels alone, drained of energy, a loss of pleasure of daily life, and like the sun may never shine again.  Pretty ghastly, isn’t it?  Yet, those who have come through it, find they have learned and grown from it.  Old pains and concerns fall away, opening to a fresh appreciation of life and love.

The reason I am writing about it is that I feel like I am circling the drain, ready to plunge downward into despair.  I do the usually stuff that always works.  I praise God, I offer up gratitude, I watch my attitude and try to react positively to irritations.  All this works to some degree, but I still have a stabbing pain of loneliness and despair.  The night approaches.

I know what has precipitated this state.  I made a promise as a young child that I would not be imprisoned in a situation like my mother was.  She would not make any changes because she didn’t want to pay the price of doing so.  I “swore?” I would not let that happen.  And yet I am here.  We jokingly told her she wore “rose-colored glasses” to help her deal with her surroundings.  I removed my rose-colored glassed recently, and realized how angry I was; I was hiding behind my cheerful attitude.  Like my mother, I find the price for change to be too high for others to pay.  So how do I remain true to those early promises to myself?  As with most dark nights of the soul, the battle is with the ego, the desire to save the life one wishes to live for oneself.

What reconciliation with my soul must I come to before I can say, “Not my will, but Thine, oh Lord?”  To trust Him that “all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes?” (Romans 8:28)  I know God does not want me to be in harms way, so I look for His plan for healing.  As usual, waiting upon Him isn’t my long suite.

I don’t know what I will learn from this time in my life, but I will share with you what I learn, the Lord willing.