For a moment, the fog thins, and I glimpse the Island. And I realize I haven’t been off course after all. My heart is true to North.
Often, I feel as if the compass needle is spinning out of control, testing every direction other than North. But I cannot deny my heart. It yearns for North, for Home, for the Island where my soul was crafted from the clay. Even if I drift, the needle eventually finds its mark again. Even if I am not certain I truly am heading Home, I can only trust my heart and forge on through the waves and the storms and the fog.
At one time, the horizon was ever clear, never blackened by thunderheads, my ship never rocked by waves swelling from deep in the sea. The Island was a luminescent green crescent resting where the sky meets the water. I never doubted my heart, because I could see without a doubt that I was sailing North. I could not see the Captain standing next to me, but I could feel Him, spurring me forward.
Today, not only can I not see Him, I rarely feel His presence. And if ever I do—only for the briefest moment—I wonder if it’s really Him, or merely the hallucinations of one who has been alone too long at sea. I fear to hear voices that do not belong to Him and find myself plunging into the depths after sirens.
The day is often as dark as the night. I grope the beautiful but empty fog that’s swallowed my ship. When storms descend, I find myself careening, battered about by my own weaknesses and fears, struggling not to drown even before I plummet and penetrate the sea. Somehow, though, I never do tumble overboard, as if an unseen hand always pulls me back at the last moment. I am left shaking and cold and exhausted, but I am still alive. Ever alive. I dare to wonder why. Unable to see the light, never mind the Island, I can only cling to the memory that, at one time, I knew where I was and where I am going and why I am going. Yes, I knew I am not sailing without purpose.
I am not a shell without cargo. I carry the treasure of my love.
Sometimes, when I am so cold I can barely feel my fingers and toes, I crawl down into the hold and open my weathered wooden chest and gaze at the gold glittering within. I wonder if it’s fool’s gold. I wonder if it’s worth this harrowing journey into darkness.
But I will only know its worth at the end of my journey. After it has passed through all the perils of my weaknesses and fears, only then will I know its strength. And so, inevitably I find myself crawling back up from the hold to grasp the wheel and peer ahead. Because my compass tells me that if I do not give up now, I will reach my destination. And I’ll know the fight to preserve my love was not for nothing.
After all, if I let go and lose my love to the bottom of the sea, what is there to live for, let alone suffer for? I thank God that, despite my afflictions, I have not lost my desire to sacrifice everything for love.
The Captain once told me that even when it seems He is not with me, He is indeed, even as He is on the Island and in the sea and in the waters of the sky. If I but embrace all, even the apparent void, I am embracing Him. And so I trust that, even as my compass leads me Home, somehow my love is already safe in Him.
Wow, that was surely the most beautifully haunting yet captivating description of spiritual desolation. Stunning- thank you for sharing!