Monday, May 16, 2011

Sleeping Sickness

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Matthew 6:34

Some nights I crawl into bed a man so defeated by worry I’d give anything to be able to shut off my thoughts with the flip of a switch. See, there’s this little minion called The Dark Thing who lives in the cellar of my cerebellum, and when night comes he starts tap, tap, tapping on my brain with a hammer, loosing every memory of betrayal, loss and regret I’ve ever stored away in the steamer trunk of my mind and laughing maniacally as they carousel around my cranium. Sunlight is The Dark Thing’s only kryptonite, so when the dawn’s first rays flood my bedroom, he stops tapping and I finally power down like a Gameboy in need of two fresh Duracells.

Christ tells me not to worry about tomorrow, but tonight my heart hurts for Tessie, who softened it, and for the girl who will not break it, and for nana, who’s growing old, so old I’ll answer the same question nine times if it puts a smile on her face. I imagine a man of deep, unshakable faith finds tranquility in the Word of God even amid the night’s mental chaos, but I’m just not that man yet. There's still a war being fought for my soul, and it rages deep into the dark.

I run myself into the ground some evenings just so I'm so tired by the time I hit the sheets that there’s no sound in me but the thumping of my heart, no fury in me but the aching of my limbs. But this is just a physical solution to a spiritual problem: It's not easy to dispel tomorrow's worry and trust Christ in the calm of the moment.

Last winter the cold began to creep inside me and by an unrelenting downward pull I lusted after darkness. Some shade lost in the wilderness of loneliness and regret was rabid for my company, but into the confusion of my soul Christ let echo his voice: I am with you.

In the night when fear comes seeping in, there is only one defense against The Dark Thing: Inhale the regrets that haunt your past and the worries that lurk in your future in one great breath and, exhaling deeply, know that you are loved intensely by Christ in this moment.

God is love,

Friday, February 25, 2011

"The light, too, shattered like a vast plate and rejoined itself and splintered again, shards and chips and glowing glass and backlit wisps of it turning in hushed and peaceful exchange and saturating everything Howard saw, so that all things themselves finally seemed to dissolve away and their shapes be held by nothing more than quills of colored light."

Tinkers / Paul Harding

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finding Truth

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was the spiritual apex of two of the most important weekends of my life. There is no sensation more raw to me than the feeling of being immersed in the presence of the creator of the universe, and I dare you to try it if you haven't. You don't have to search the deepest corners of your mind for answers or pray and pray and pray, you just have to let yourself go in the presence of God. I like to write during adoration, and wrote this after someone handed me a bible and I went searching for a verse I'd heard not long ago, one which struck me with both its mystery and simplicity. This is my Truth.

"He reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with him."
Daniel 2:22

Christ left his father in Heaven, where joy and love are boundless and eternal, to walk the earth as a man. He suffered and died on a wooden cross with nails through his flesh and a crown of thorns clawing at his skull. But he died so that I may live forever with him in paradise, the never-ending eye of the storm. I get so caught up in all this earthly bullshit, this regret and anxiety I carry with me like a millstone around my neck, that I forget that Christ was so afraid of his crucifixion he began to sweat blood.

I recede into darkness at times because imperfection is washed up in all that I am. But it's never long before I return to the light of Christ. Enfolded in his grace I feel sublime joy, an unquantifiable and mysterious burst of inner fire that leaves me smiling and jumping for joy. This inner fire exists, I imagine, as a flame eternally lit in the center of my heart. Racked with angst and sin, my blood turns to smog and the Evil One draws my eyes downward. 

I've felt the ethereal lift of grace, battled darkness and overcome some truly wily demons. Though I turn my back on the Lord, he never leaves my side. His mercy drains my soul of dark and vile things and turns my blood to the gasoline that flows to the flame at the center of my heart, igniting my life.

Someday, when my earthly body has expired, I will go home to Christ and experience this joy not in bursts, but as the very nature of my being.

God is love,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"There in the sunlit life above," I answered,
"before my years were full, I went astray
within a valley. Only yesterday
at dawn I turned my back upon it—but
when I was newly lost, he here appeared,
to guide me home again along this path."

Dante's Inferno / Dante Alighieri