By the time you read this, my first-world problems today will have been solved – they’ll have to be because I can’t post this until I have internet. But for some reason the wireless connection at the library where I’m spending the morning is out of commission.
I have a video conference tonight and one of the participants is having a similar problem. The wireless network is out all over her town because of a snowstorm. She’ll try to call in tonight, but it will all depend on the network.
I love that she and I are able to be in a group that meets regularly despite the hundreds of miles between us. In a different age, we would never have even met, let alone become great friends through our technological connections. But it’s interesting to realize that our connection is very fragile; it depends on some silicon chips and wires, which neither of us completely understand nor can manage ourselves. We can suddenly find ourselves very disconnected and alone.
Which makes me think about the times I have been disconnected spiritually.
Sometimes I can feel like God is very distant, maybe not even there. I can remember these times, even if I intellectually feel comfortable saying that it is myself who was not present; God is always there. These are usually lonely times, but not always. Sometimes it is in the midst of the “best” of times that I strike out on my own and break my connection with the Divine.
The absence of Divine Presence in my life is often a result of my resistance. I stop praying because I am too busy; I am too busy, because there’s something that the light of Christ is illuminating in my spirit that I don’t want to see.
There are also times when that Presence is missing and there’s nothing I can do about it at all. Mystics throughout time have recognized what John of the Cross refers to as the “Dark Night of the Soul,” when one seeks the Divine and finds only emptiness in its most frightening and devastating forms. This, too, is generally a sign that God is working mysteriously. When you are aware that it can happen, you can have hope when it does happen that it will not be forever. But there are no guarantees and it is a big help to have a spiritual guide or friend or director to walk that lonely path with you.
Fortunately, in my spiritual journey, I have felt more or less close to God, but rarely completely disconnected. In my life, however, what has been a more common experience is to find myself disconnected from myself. I have worked on a project, sometimes for years, only to realize at the end that my intellect or my heart or my soul was no longer working there with me. I have set goals for the sake of other people that never connected to the real goals in my heart and my calling with God. I have become so obsessed with people or with things that I lost myself pursuing them.
My big calling to ministry came at a time when I was disconnected in my work life. I went to work and I went to church, but the two pursuits never came together. It was only when I learned to align my work and my faith that I felt reconnected and more alive. Of course, it’s a life long struggle to stay connected – sometimes the wires get crossed despite my best efforts.
Do you sense that the connections in your life are quite strong or rather fragile? Have you ever felt disconnected from God? From yourself? What kinds of things do you try to reconnect? What are the connections in your life that are most valuable to you? Are you able to build new connections in your life?
You can work with Openings: Let the Spirit In online or in person. We’ll help you navigate your connections with yourself and your spiritual life, which will bring new purpose and focus to all that you do.