My old nemesis doubt has snarled at me yet again in recent days. I’m not surprised; we’re naturally floundering a bit as we make our way in this new place, feeling the geographic disconnection from the deep friendships that have sustained us over the past years. There’s more reasons, I know (tiredness, the necessary process of wrestling with new questions and contexts, etc. etc.). The bottom line, though, is that I have just felt that numbing, vague hollowing of my soul.
My first response in seasons of doubt is to rev the intellectual engines. Find an answer. Scratch around for more proofs. Connect with a philosophical voice that calms my anxious heart. There’s a place for bending the mind, absolutely. Ignorance is not our friend. However, I’ve peddled around those circles enough to know that they just keep going round and round and round. For me, hope is not found in a rational repose but in an inflamed heart. Eleven years ago, when I foolishly freaked out about whether or not I should marry Miska, my doubt and fear was not, at its core, a matter of proofs and logic. It was a matter of desire. What did I want? What did my heart beat for? It’s the same here. As a friend recently told me, “All you need to know is what you love.”
My doubts (in this season at least) aren’t signals that I need to better wrestle with my questions. Rather, my doubts make their way from a heart that has not surrendered to love. I find hope in Mother Theresa’s words (who said if she would ever be declared a saint, it would have to be as a “saint of darkness”): “My key to heaven is that I loved Jesus in the night.”
In the night, I loved. Not just in the day. Not just amid the answer. But I loved Jesus, in the night. That is my hope, my prayer.
5 Replies to “All You Need to Know”
Beautiful, Winn. If we could only see how many other people are with us in the darkness… you are not alone.
How refreshing to hear that there’s someone else struggling with this problem of doubt. Thank you for sharing this.
You honest wrestlings are one of the things I love and treasure about you, friend. Thank you for sharing them with us.
Peace of Christ.
“You Darkness” – Rilke
You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight –
and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.
(trans. by David Whyte)
Winn, you love ravenously. Remember our God loves ravenously for us — his shone most brightly in the darkest night.