1Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing direction. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverised bones …
This little sandstorm has been following me around and almost eating me up. For weeks, I found myself constantly going into restrooms just to get away. I cool my head, calm my nerves, and then, look myself in the mirror. Kind of like a scene from a movie right? Yeah … I was thinking that, too. That who-am-I-look you give yourself after cooling your head and washing your face … and to make it even more cliche, add a little snap-out-of-it-face-slap right across the kisser. Winner. Oscar award. But seriously, no matter how cliche it sounds, it is real and it has been going on for weeks now. Almost everyday.
In literature it is the internal conflict our protagonists must go through before their big heroic victory. And of course I would like to think that we are all our own protagonists in our own lives, yes? Our internal conflicts have to deal with all our fears, issues, or whatever, when they all come rushing in and in the most untimely fashion — when all struggles within the self come to reveal themselves like gate crashers at your house party telling you it sucks. Wonderful. They creep in without you noticing. And when that happens, what can you do? They’re already there. They won’t go away.
In the sandstorm that we have built for ourselves, there’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. But there, you may just be able to find God.
Monday’s first reading was this: To the penitent, God provides a way back, He encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to Him … Turn again to the Most Hight … Stand firm in the way set before you, in prayer to the Most High God.
And in prayer, I have been … trying. But what comes to mind sometimes is this: a letter Mother Teresa wrote to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet in September of 1979, and it reads, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”
I have created a desert for myself … and I am trapped inside my own sandstorm. I’ve stepped right in, closed my eyes and plugged my ears so the sand doesn’t get in. Still, I walk step by step, in prayer.
1Kafka on the Shore. Haruki Murakami