journeys in the dark

All the great journeys begin in the dark.

I wrote that a couple of months ago, as Andy and I sat in an airport lounge, waiting for our flight to Italy.  

I was thinking about all the times we'd driven away from our house before dawn, the car loaded with camping gear, hiking boots, ski stuff.  Seen the sun rise over the Texas Panhandle or the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Ice Fields Parkway.  

 Fellow traveler, Jasper National Park, Canada, July 2012

Fellow traveler, Jasper National Park, Canada, July 2012

Or boarded the plane at midnight from LAX, wheels up for Brisbane or the Big Island.  Then watched the sun rising, a full rainbow spectrum, 30,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.  

 Okay, this is sunset instead of sunrise.  But that is the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, June 2013

Okay, this is sunset instead of sunrise.  But that is the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, June 2013

All the great journeys begin in the dark.

I was mostly thinking about trips we take on purpose, because we want to.  Things we've dreamed of and planned for and anticipated for months or years in advance.  The fun stuff.

I wasn't thinking about those journeys in the dark that are less like a vacation, and more like a kidnapping by terrorists.  

Those journeys that start with a phone call in the night and take a long, painful detour into no-man's-land.

The past couple of months have been like that for us, and about the time the fourth shoe dropped, Andy said to me, "What happened to the nice life we just had?"

Good question, my love.  Good question.

We finally made it back to Sunday School last week, shell-shocked and shaky, but needing to hang with our peeps for an hour in between God Only Knows What and Are You Freaking Kidding Me.  

The verse of the day in Sunday School was:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18 

Now, a few years ago, I might have concluded that our current afflictions are some kind of spiritual smack-down, designed to put me in my place. 

But I no longer negotiate with terrorists, and I don't live outside of Love.

So, no.  I don't believe that God has designed this present darkness to Teach Me A Lesson, Once and For All.

I think that this mess, and millions of others like it, are a matter of general brokenness.  There was a Fall, and now we fall.  It just happens like this now.

No matter what.  No matter how hard we try.  Horribly, hatefully, we just don't get to have that much control.  We are not in charge here.  We are all waiting for That Day.  

Meanwhile, poop happens.

The problem with pride and a haughty spirit is this:  the bigger they are, the harder we fall.  The more we think we have it all together, the bigger the shock when it turns out that we don't.  

It's better to stay close to the ground.  when the fall happens, better a skinned knee than a broken neck.

Here is what I know in the dark night of this journey:

Life is a mess.

Love will carry us through.

Meanwhile, we:

Hold hands and stay close.

Breathe in, breathe out.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

Take our meds.

Eat chocolate, listen to music, take bubble baths, cry, pray, scream, and cuss.

Wait, and trust the Love.

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