The holy discontent

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi

I’ve been writing a lot about blueness and darkness lately. It’s Advent, after all — a time to honor this darkness inherent in so many of our hearts this time of year.

This note goes out to those who are feeling it more so than others. Whether your darkness is caused by something concrete or a vaguer existential or ontological anxiety — the human condition is ripe with enough reasons to do so.

We need to know that this is a normal part of the human experience — that it’s not dysfunctional to experience deep sadness, anxiety, grief, or pain.

That being said, when we go down the road of following our human discontent, we can only go so far before something else starts to kick in — a sort of holy discontent that’s discontented with our discontent (might wanna read that again).

We’re like George Bailey on the bridge that fated Christmas Eve begging God to let him live again (one of my all-time favorite movie scenes — it just doesn’t get old)…

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When we reach the bottom of our human discontent, something else in us starts to shine through. It’s a shimmer, at first. As we surrender into this sliver of light, it opens up and enfolds us. We find ourselves trust-falling into something far bigger than our individual human will.

This is what people in my tradition call the Christ Light.

Much like a physical constellation, the Christ Light is always present, even during the brightness of the noonday sun. It’s just most visible during the darkest of nights.

On this winter solstice night, I thank the darkness within for being the midwife of the Christ Light that yearns to shine through it.

The thing about the Christ Light is that it doesn’t work very well to follow it as we would a trail map. This following isn’t done through the slog of putting one foot in front of the other. The Christ Light can only be followed through surrender. It’s a pull that’s submitted to.

And so, may you be reaching the ends of your human discontent. May your individual will be so exhausted that you allow a more holy discontent to lead you to the light within you. And may you follow the magnetic pull of this mysterious light wherever it takes you.

Happy solstice.


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