Many times in the past, I sat with that song at my piano and took in the poetry of it – line by line. I feel each one can be a prompt for a deep reflection.
Like this one:
“I see skies of blue, clouds of white,
bright blessed day, dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
What comes up for you when you read it?
I can write a million emails, stories and posts about the beauty and love and life that each ‘bright blessed day’ brings.
I can write about how to see each day as ‘bright and blessed’ – even those that are stormy and hard.
If you read my emails and posts, you know I’ll dig out a tiny morsel of hope and optimism and hold onto them like my life depends on it (because it does).
Hope is how we survive the most difficult of challenges, isn’t it?
But what about that ‘dark, sacred night”?
Most of us have experienced it at some point or another (if you haven’t, you are incredibly lucky!)
The kind of darkness that St. John of the Cross and St. Therese write about. The kind that brings despair in which we begin to believe that the tunnel we’re in is simply too long for us to ever see the light.
The darkness so heavy and exhausting that our hearts, our minds, and our bodies feel too weak to pick ourselves back up.
It’s when we feel like giving up. (And when we give up, we ‘surrender,’ get out of our way and allow Grace and Love to lead us out of it.)
Have you ever experienced that kind of dark night?
I have. Several times.
I wrote about one experience in (un)Broken.
The pain and grief – and shame – kept me in that dark place until the pressure of having to record an album pushed me into dealing with it.
I surrendered to it, and it hurt like hell. But eventually (11 years later), Grace and Love (in the form of musicians, my therapist, my mom, and the recordings of the songs my dad taught me) led me to healing.
That process, that journey, is the ‘sacred’ part in the ‘dark, sacred night’ line 😉
Now, this is all good and nice and poetic and spiritual and mystical and awesome…
But what happens when Grace and Love don’t show up?
I recently learned about two girls whose father was murdered. And about a kid who tried to take their own life. And another one who was suffering in the dark alone, being shamed for their anxiety and was harming themselves. And a friend who lost her son to murder.
I sat with the grief and reflected on how we have managed to create a world in which more and more people feel so incredibly disconnected and alone. (Note that all of the people mentioned above belonged to a church.)
How did we get here? Why didn’t “grace and love’ show up for them?
Here’s what I know:
Grace and Love don’t exist in a vacuum.
They aren’t pixy dust.
They are manifested in our world through people, events, actions – all of which require OUR participation. They are also manifested through nature, but as humanity, we are less and less able to recognize it.
Also, because instead of showing up as Grace and Love, we sit comfortably at home pointing fingers, finding someone to blame, coming up with a thousand theories and explanations for the world’s troubles, rarely or never asking ‘How did I contribute to the despair?’ and ‘What have I done to be a part of the healing?’
It’s easier to busy ourselves with constant activities, keep the noise up to drown out the uncomfortable silence, light up the world with million artificial lights so we never face the dark, sacred night.
And to be fair, perhaps we are afraid of it. Which is normal. Dark nights aren’t pleasant, no matter how ‘sacred’ they might be.
Perhaps we feel ashamed of our brokenness and
don’t want to look at the ‘ugly’ parts of ourselves.
I wrote about that too in (un)Broken… and I shared it in hopes to connect with someone out there who feels alone in their pain.
Because when we do experience the dark sacred night, we are able to connect with others in the same pain. When we connect, we activate Grace and Love and bring healing to each other.
I invite you to think about the bright, blessed days and dark sacred nights of your own life. And see what comes up. Reflect on how your pain has helped you to help have compassion for someone else who was suffering.
(If you ever encounter pain you aren’t able to process, please seek professional help. There is no shame in doing so.)
Thank you for reading and allowing me to share with you my thoughts.
With much love and gratitude,