Quest by Quotation
God, for wise reasons, has made our affairs in this world, almost as fickle and capricious as ourselves.—Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other; and he that knows how to accommodate himself to their periodical returns, and can wisely extract the good from the evil,—knows only how to live. Laurence Sterne
Do you believe that pain and pleasure run in cycles in your life? How do you see the good in the dark times, or are you able to do so? Has God really made "our affairs...fickle" or does God have more to do with how things go in our lives?
Early this morning, the moon, glowing golden last night, disappeared from view. A lunar eclipse. It wasn't as dramatic as a solar eclipse. After all, it was at 5:30AM and few were awake. There is also something about having a reflected light, rather than light source, disappear from view. No biggie. So we all just slept through and greeted the sun as it rose instead.
I have been pondering the issue of life's light and dark moments this week as the new book detailing Mother Teresa's spiritual darkness, Come Be My Light, was covered extensively in the media. Her letters revealed she founded her mission but then felt abandoned by God, or rather didn't feel God's presence for most of the rest of her life. Needless to say, people do not expect this from a woman many consider a saint. To which, one of my friends said his first response to the coverage was, "so you think being a saint is easy?"
That is where I think Laurence Sterne has it right, considering he is an eighteenth century male. Life IS full of periods of light and darkness, pleasure and pain, opportunities to cling to God against the moodiness of our daily existence. Women are often accused of being moody, living in the highs and lows, but maybe we just recognize the characteristic up and down quality of life that Sterne talks about, flow with it, more than men do. Mother Teresa flew to the highest of heights in her relationship and calling to God. It does not surprise me she then found herself in the darkness. I am reminded of being told not to look at the sun because it would burn one's eyes and cause blindness. Was the darkness a result of such spiritual ecstasy or a closer tie to Christ and his earthly experience? Maybe, it was just a part of life's capricious nature and cycles that Mother Teresa adapted to...
It has been said that Mother Teresa's experience would make it easier for those going through dark times, or feeling God's absence. As much, we can also learn from Sterne. For most of us, life is not all light or all darkness. Seeing the good in the dark times, knowing that good times are not the sum total of what helps us grow through our lives, this realization can bring us comfort and peace each day be it cloudy or fair.