Saturday, December 1, 2007
I saw this sign in a park here in Edmonton. While I’m sure it has something to do with parking or not idling by the curb in your car, all I can see when I look at it is a somewhat desperate plea: “DON’T STOP!”
This past week, I have enjoyed an evening of music, a laughter-filled dinner with friends, the bright sun, soup and spiritual reflection, and the life-giving energy of students. And in the midst of all of the things I’ve been writing about darkness and tears, I want to also write about food, music, and friends, and the place of light within me that wants to shout “Don’t stop!” to all those good gifts. Because they are the ones that call me back from the edges where I wander to the place within me where God dwells.
Henri Nouwen describes the journey of the prodigal son as one “so disconnected from what gives life—family, friends, community, acquaintances, and even food—that he realized that death would be the natural next step” (The Prodigal Son, 48). The unstated correlation here is: isolation = death. But when I hear music, when I sing, when I eat with others, when I listen to stories and put myself in places where these things happen, I put myself also in the path of life because I am no longer alone.
I do not doubt that I will fall in and out of seasons of darkness for the rest of my life. But what I hope is that the more times I see them end, the more patient I can be within them, the more trusting that they are, in fact, only a season. The more I can make the conscious choice to wait them out, to socialize and be with people even when I don’t think I want to, the more I will begin to remember and believe, as Nouwen reminds me, that God has never stopped stretching out his hands waiting for me to return.