I was standing in the middle of an empty house — in the living room. Light sauntered in through the windows, ever so discreetly, reflecting off the planks that demarcated the outside from the in. The walls, formerly stroked with greens, and frames with pieces jauntily assembled by tiny appendages unknowingly guided by the voices above, beside, behind, and moments frozen in time marked in pen as if to scream, “Yes, it happened” — they all hung so delicately and undisturbed on the wall.
But no more.
I stood there in the dark. While light enveloped me, it didn’t do much revealing. Light gives clarity to the unseen edges, gives form to the formless, gives order to chaos. The light that wrapped me only revealed the bareness to the reality once known — a pure reality predicated on light. No, no, this light was no light, not the light that I had come to know, but a mere phantasm masquerading and parading.
I stood there in the dark. My soul confided with my spirit — do you remember those times you soared in the air, pining for the football your dad launched from his chair? do you remember the mini knee hockey games? do you remember waking up in the mornings to mom reading the word and praying for you? do you remember your bear-like, invincible dog, laying motionless in the corner, wide eyed, as if to say, “No, no, the light will not give way.” you said good bye, and so did he.
When you sell a house, and you have your last moment with it, soaking up its barrenness as memories overwhelm your consciousness, you experience a sense off loss. Your final solitary moment, the one where you stand alone and entrenched in the fading memory of the past, in no way encapsulates the memory of your former home. You stand alone — physically and emotionally. This loneliness is accentuation because the capsule that ordered an entire period of your life is stripped away and you stand in recognition of that. You know a new life stands ahead and is ordered in a new way. You will never be able to go back. Only a vague memory remains.
This is a powerful picture of the soul, and how God moves in the soul. St. John of the Cross refers to the moment when the soul stands alone in the darkness of its house as the dark night. What is the dark night?
“The dark night is an influence from God upon the soul, which purges her of her ignorance and habitual imperfections, natural and spiritual…wherein God teaches the soul in secret, and instructs her in the perfect love, all act on her part being limited to fixing her attention lovingly on God, listening to his voice and receiving the light he sends.”
God purges the intellect and senses to leave the soul barren and only able to progress through the perfect love of Christ infused by God himself. You stand alone, left alone with the faint light of God, stripped of all you used to hold dear. Its the moment when Jesus calls his disciples, and they drop everything to go and follow the light directed toward them.
You can imagine the possible thoughts that flooded their minds in between the call and the actually releasing of their nets. All the fish they caught from the Sea of Galilee flashed before their eyes, the fillets they grilled over an open fire on the sea’s banks, the storms that rocked them near to death, the days the sun shined meekly upon their dark skin — all of it for naught — all stripped away — for the call of a Carpenter. You can imagine a darkness overwhelming the soul. What am I doing? Am I really thinking about following this guy?
But, it was only a mere flash, similar to the flash the man had as he stood alone in his living room. It was not a darkness similar to the darkness of evil, but instead, a darkness intended to illuminate the dwelling place of the most high.
In actuality, their darkness would be similar to the darkness experienced by the one who searches for a house to purchase. They have moved out of their old house, and they stand in a new house — barren, but full of potential. The light reflecting off the fence and into their living room sharing with the buyer new nooks and crannies never noticed before. You can only notice them when the sun is set at certain angle in the sky. Yet, there they stand. A stop motion-like image interjects itself into the mind (from an outside source) of the potential buyer, placing himself in those nooks and in those crannies — the glistening yellows protrude out of the previous greens, the new frames envelope the reds smeared with pristine whites, there is lack of signatures needed to validate the past. The present clearly marks the past.
The purpose of the dark night is to lead the soul out of the darkness and into the light of union with the father. In this union, the father recreates the soul to be more and more bound to him — in heart, mind, spirit, and strength. God infuses the vision into the soul of the potential buyer.
After some back and forth, the buyer relents, and he settles into his new home. New memories are made in the house designed by the designer. The old house, the old memories, occasionally come back, but the buyer would rather be curled up by the fireplace, warmed by the radiant yellows and whites of his new reality.
In honor of the home which is no longer mine.