I think one of the reasons that I have been able to finally ‘grieve’ the past and move on has been getting back into a rhythm of prayer and reflection. I suppose that it’s almost inevitable that when you have a baby your life gets turned upside down. However, last year I managed to follow a ‘bible in a year’ reading plan – immensely helpful in so many years. Since the turn of the year, things hadn’t been so good. Tiredness had overwhelmed both of us, with bed being embraced as long as possible before having to get up to go to work.
I knew that something had to change, or something had to give. I don’t mind admitting that I was in one of those ‘dark nights of the soul‘ that St John of the Cross described. Faith seemed to be slipping through my fingers. I was getting by…but that was it. God seemed more distant that I think I’ve ever experienced before. Life was ok, please be aware of this – I’m not suggesting I was hating existence. I just felt…empty, unplugged.
In the midst of this time I realised I needed to reconnect. I hadn’t prayed for weeks. Hadn’t touched my bible. Stupid, really, that the thing you can rely on to give you life you abandon at the first point of stress. It was time to reconnect. While visiting a friend, I asked about Celtic prayer – something about these Celts really resonates with me. She lent me a simple prayer-book called ‘Rhythm of Life: Celtic Daily Prayer’ by David Adams, from the Lindisfarne Community. The premise is simple – each day has four lots of readings – morning, midday, evening and night. The themes are just as simple:
- Sunday – Resurrection
- Monday – Creation
- Tuesday – Incarnation
- Wednesday – Holy Spirit
- Thursday – Community
- Friday – The Cross
- Saturday – The Saints
A simple rhythm soon develops, praying simple words, repeating them as each week flows through. Far from praying other peoples words, you feel yourself connecting with a wider experience, with the ‘saints’ through the ages who have prayed similar words. The incredible thing is that this doesn’t become a rigid thing – it creates freedom…freedom to explore, to ask questions. Opening your mind to the presence of God in every hour of every day.
Rhythm, flowing back into my life…
I’m not saying I’ve got it sorted – but I’m beginning to feel alive again. And as I said earlier, I’m fairly sure this is connected to what happened last weekend.
The dark night of the soul is an important place to go. Not a place to ignore, but a place to ignore. From this darkness comes the desire for light and life…which only God can fulfil.