Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(See this photo and many other spectacular and breathtaking photos of the week here.)

Matthew 25:30:

"As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Today marks a very strange day in my life. It marks a day in my past when suddenly, what I assumed "was," "wasn't." A day where I went to bed thinking some things were a "given," and I awoke to the sudden realization they were not a "given," and found myself feeling like I was standing on the edge of the outer darkness, my hands bound and my mouth duct taped shut.

We have all had days like that in our lives, and moments where it felt like the entire world did a 180. Maybe it was the day the doctor looked you in the face and said, "You have cancer." Maybe it was the day the phone rang and the voice on the other end said that your parent, your child, your sibling, your spouse had been killed in an accident. Maybe it was the day your significant other looked at the floor and said, "I don't love you--and I love someone else." Maybe it was the day your child said, "I'm leaving and I'm never coming back." Maybe it was the day you actually did walk away from the abuse you were experiencing in your home. Maybe it was the day people got together and did an intervention on you. Maybe it was the day you were robbed, or beaten, or raped. Maybe it was the day your house burned down or a tornado swept it away. But those days are there. Days that started out like any other, but by the end of the day, the world was drastically different, and drastically more empty or frightening.

In those days, we start out "in our normal world" but suddenly find ourselves cast into the outer darkness. We find ourselves on the outside looking in, at a world we thought we know but now no longer recognize even shadows in it. This outer darkness is so pitch black that, when it happens, it seems that not even God is in it, because these moments suddenly resonate only with one thing--our own heart of darkness. Those things we know we have done in the past that are incredibly, indelibly wrong. The things we did wrong and never got caught. This moment of being "cast out" often feels made of equal parts of "I did not deserve this, I did nothing bad enough to cause this to happen," and "I deserve all of this for all the things I did but no one ever found out."

Why is it that we so often can remember these dates with the same razor sharp memory that we remember the beautiful milestones in our lives, like weddings, births, and graduations? Sometimes we can remember them even BETTER than the dates of the beautiful moments of our lives. Why is it we sometimes remember "The day I was handed my pink slip at work," better than "The day I met the love of my life?"

Perhaps it all goes back to that old "saint/sinner" paradox. There seems to be a need to define our lives in terms of "saint/sinner" where we can have meaning to it, in situations where there is no blame to assign. A tsunami hits shore and hundreds of people die. The tsunami is neither "good," nor "evil," it's just a tsunami. Yet it causes the families of the dead to curse God, and it causes televangelists to spout crap that it is God's punishment--and I always have this vision of God shrugging and going, "Whaaaaa?"

But the truth is, when those moments arrive that we find ourselves suddenly cut from the herd, we had absolutely positively nothing to do with what happened in THAT MOMENT. But we so often play "what if" a thousand times afterward.

I was trying to remember in my own story, when that moment came that the outer darkness was no longer utterly pitch black dark. When did the light of God actually appear? When could I even begin to even notice God had been in that blackness all along?

It did not come to me for a while. I just remember there was a weight to that darkness. A weight so heavy that for some time I could only lie under it and remember to keep breathing. I remember that feeling of immobility and a feeling that every possible avenue out appeared inhospitable.

What I recall, though, is that the moment that the light of God appeared, it was in a place that prior to this event, I would have considered a fearful place, and it appeared in a person I did not expect. It did not appear until I could be brave enough to tell the story of the darkness I'd seen.

Time has a funny way of changing events in our minds. God has a funny way of making us see that the things we experienced, that were so "real" in their dark power, are not so real now as we get further from them. But it takes three things: Time; a willingness for God to reveal the truth to us and for us to remain still and hear it; and for us to open our mouths and tell our stories. Without those three things, we remain cut from the herd, but excluded by fences of our own making.

Take some time today to reflect that, at this moment, someone is out there in the outer darkness and can't move. We don't know who they are. They might be right under our noses. Remember them in prayer, and open yourself up to the possibility that you might be the person they need to hear their story.


Beautiful, profound, and true, Kirk--thanks for this.


You're welcome, Doxy!

OH. MY. GAWD! You wrote this for me. Me, stuck.

BTW, you write powerful words here to those us who have experienced a "dark night of the soul." At my best, the recollection of those times makes me kinder and gentler to others. At my worst ... Well, y'know ...

Oddly enough, not "for" you on purpose, but you and I are starting to realize that old clever arranger, the Holy Spirit has other ideas...

Yes, I know that, and that's what I meant in my comment. I know the Spirit has her ways ...

That old Shekinah, she IS a sneaky one...



Bookmark and Share

About Me

My photo
Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

Read the Monk Manifesto!

Light a Candle

Light a Candle
Light a candle on the site; click on an unlit candle to begin

Blog Archive

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed


Sign my Guestbook from Get your Free Guestbook from

Thanks for visiting my blog!