The Dark Night of the ….

We’ve all heard about the dark night of the soul. That time so many spend feeling out of touch with God. Its not uncommon. Mother Teresa went through just such a period. For her, a saint, it lasted decades. But this spiritual “disconnectedness” isn’t the dark night I want to talk about. You see, there is another dark night and as painful as the one I just described is in the spiritual this other dark night is just as painful in the natural. Sadly, for some people, and I’d go so far as to say for a great many people, this dark night lasts a lifetime.

Have you ever noticed someone in a restaurant eating alone? Someone waiting alone at the doctors office for their appointment with a worried expression? A child waiting, alone, to be picked up after school? Someone who attends Mass regularly, always by themselves? The next time you drive someplace take a sort of poll as you make your way through traffic. How many cars are occupied by only the driver?

All of the situations I mention above are common. We’ve all eaten alone at some point, probably all of us have made a doctors appointment by ourselves. There are times when we each really need to be by ourselves. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the people who always eat alone, who always shop alone, who always … Now you see what, and more pointedly who, I’m referring to. And I purposely use the word “who” here in such a way as to make the word stand out. Because as long as we think in terms of “what” instead of “who” this dark night will remain impersonal even if its our own. And separating the thought of this dark night from the people living it only makes it darker. Go back just a few words. “Living it”. Notice that I didn’t say “living through it”. Remember, these are the people who always wait, eat, drive … Alone.

Jesus said that you are the salt of the earth. I didn’t say “we are the salt of the earth” and He didn’t either. “You”. You, the one reading this right here right now. Do you think the people who live a life-long dark night could use you? Could use a little salt, a little friendliness, a little fellowship? Things like “Hi, how are you?” with a smile as you pass the lone diner on your way to wash up prior to your own meal. An honest “Are you ok?” to the person setting alone at the doctors office. Maybe a star twinkles in that dark night when someone takes a moment to care.

There is a lady at church. She lives alone. She is “apart” from her family. There is an “issue” that hampers her I know, but that isn’t blog material. I think some people probably avoid her as a result. (Sadly all they need to do is take a few minutes. This “issue” seems to melt away after you’ve talked with her for only a short while.) She doesn’t seem to fit in. I’ve talked with her a few times and enjoyed each conversation. She is very pleasant. She is also obviously very lonely. Over a year ago she showed up at my cabin door. She is very shy. As soon as I opened the door and saw who it was I was impressed. I knew that it had taken all she had to work up the courage to knock on that door. I’m not hard to approach but her shyness is, well, pronounced. I was very glad for the courage she showed and for the conversation. Before leaving she said that she would like to come back for tea sometime. I let her know that it would be fine for her to come for tea anytime and that I would look forward to it. And I was honest in saying that. She hasn’t been back. And she’ll never know how much I wish she would.

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2 Comments

  1. Great story!

    • Thank you. I just wish it had a happier ending for so many people.


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