Jerry Seinfeld did some stand up in Sioux Falls a few years ago. He riffed on our habit of talking about the weather. So indulge me (I’ll get into the spiritual stuff too).
We’re having some actual autumn here. That’s a thing for us because spring and fall are too often too short preludes to too much summer and too much winter. I walked the dogs in a warm south wind today as we head for a November 2nd record 75 degrees.
Jon Krakauer described the sky over Mt. Everest as an “aching blue.” Along about January, we’ll get a string of days with that same palate, and a bright yellow sun splashed in it. Old Sol is there like you might reach out and touch it. Only you can’t, and it doesn’t touch you, either. Bright and unfiltered as it is, you can only look at it – you can’t feel it in the subzero air.
And this brings me to where I am with God at the moment. God’s there – I have no doubt any more than I doubt the reality of the sun. But like the deep winter daylight, I’m not feeling God.
Non believers either don’t get this or scoff at it, which is sad because it means they haven’t felt God’s presence in a way that can set up the contrasting absence.
I remember the media flipping out when Mother Teresa’s writings revealed seasons of what I’m describing. She affirmed the reality of God – even the particular love for humanity revealed in Jesus – but confessed to passages of “emptiness and silence” in response to her prayers. The media thought this a massive, scandalous reveal. Christians recognized it as a family trait.
This lack of contact isn’t depression. I’m not incapacitated by it, coffee still smells and tastes great, and I laugh out loud at these guys…
But it hurts. It’s like spousal silent treatment, where you know there’s a person who loves you or is at least your pal in the next room, but s/he’s shut off all transmission of any of that. It does become hard to pray. Comforts like worship and Bible reading lose their power, like Covid blighted tastebuds.
No great advice on my part (sorry you read this far to see that?). This is a thing to wait out. It comes and goes, more for some of us than others. I’m willing to bet there are some fortunate souls who don’t deal with this at all.
King David sang, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” We slog through the valley of palpable frights and failures, sometimes with an invisible yet palpable God who calms and encourages, sometimes with a shiny something in the sky that we can’t feel.