Where This Meets That
Life gives us all challenges, and I think we are all challenged according to what we are able to withstand. I am amazed by the strength of many people to endure what they do in their lives.
As for me, God knows I’m weak. And that’s not a bad thing; he made me, of course, and continues to make me through life’s challenges. But it does mean I struggle more against less.
There are perks to being weak. Knowing my weakness, God has mercifully carried me to the spiritual “mountaintop” multiple times in my life, giving me moments of absolute clarity of his existence, dominion, and love.
The mountaintop is full of sunshine and certainty. We can see life so clearly from there, but we can’t stay there yet. It’s a precursor of the promise of the “new earth” so many of us strive for.
The flipside is the big “valley” below.
The valley is surrounded by mountainous obstacles that block out the sun and give no visibility to any future promise but rigorous climbing.
Being weak, I cry out to be carried, and God, in his mercy, has carried me. I think of my children in days of long walking on short legs, begging me to lift them. Too frequently I do so begrudgingly, falling humanly short of my divine role model father.
The valley forces such reflection which, ideally, forces reaction. Having been to the proverbial mountaintop, I am aware that I am not there and I miss it terribly. That’s the good thing.
The bad thing is how cloudy spirituality can become in the valley. It’s all too easy for mountains to block out the zest of the mountaintop. When we lose the zest, we muddle it up with lesser things. That can bring danger, for we all innately need relationship with God.
St. Augustine called it a “God-shaped hole” in our hearts. In the valley, we try to cram all kinds of things in its place: ambition, despair, TV, games, cars, clothes, drugs (legal or not), sex, and so on. But nothing can fill it but God.
For too many months now, I’ve been rummaging through the valley, joyless in my faith. Going through the motions. Tired.
I think of the revelations about Mother Teresa after her death. She spent the last many decades of her life in the “valley” yearning for that “mountaintop” that never again came to her in this life. Yet so diligently she continued her hard work of loving God.
What a strong woman. What a saint.
As for me, I am weak and no saint. And yet, as we all are, I was made to be one. The choice is mine as it is yours: climb or lie down?