Waiting in Darkness


As the darkest day of the year approaches, I’m finding hope in the darkness.

My own darkness, that is.

I’ve been silent because it’s been hard to put words on a page. Hard to express what I’ve been experiencing.

A couple of months ago I entered a darkness, a place where I felt hopelessly negative and stuck. And it was painful.

Despite the pain, I recognized it as an invitation from Spirit. Draw near. Delve deeper. There’s more to discover. More that hinders you from fully realizing all that you are in Me.

So, I reached out for help.

I’ve no idea where this will take me, but I’m willing to go deeper. I’m willing because I believe my faithfulness in saying yes to this invitation will allow the manifestation of what longs to be born in me.

“The birth of the Word in the soul,” as my Living School teacher Jim Finley puts it. Through our fidelity to these yeses, to what shows up unexpectedly in our lives, Christ is incarnate in the world, he says.

But, for now, I sit in the Advent season of expectant darkness.

Rumi darkness candle
I sit in the silence and wait. I wait because there is nowhere else to go. I wait with hopefulness, with the courage and trust it takes to say yes. To accept what is before me. And I wait with an awareness that infinite Love is loving me in this place. And a recognition that this, too, is part of my spiritual journey.

I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. Each of us has our own moments of waiting in darkness. Sometimes it’s dealing with a chronic illness. Emotional pain. An unexpected medical diagnosis. The death of a loved one. Separation from one’s children.

Here at the border we’ve been getting more asylum seekers lately. We’re especially seeing an increase in refugees from African countries like Ghana, Ethiopia, and Cameroon, where violence has caused many to flee. I’ve begun visiting a few of these young men detained in the El Paso detention facility while they await their court date. They are not much older than my own son. Every one of them has had life-threatening experiences to get here. And every one of them has been separated from their families. If they are sent back, they will be killed.

I wonder how they remain hopeful. How they say yes to the darkness.

One young man I visit tells me his mother knows nothing about where he is. She doesn’t know if he’s safe, or even alive. I think of what that must be like for her – waiting for news. Wondering and worrying. Is she able to say yes to this darkness? To accept this part of her journey? welcoming door


I think of Finley’s words: “… your ongoing yes is the incarnation.”

And then I recall a very young woman so many years ago. Her willingness to say yes with courage and trust to what presented itself in the silent darkness led to the incarnation. The birth of Christ in the world.

In the silent darkness of the night, no matter how dark, no matter how uncertain, God speaks the Word in the soul.

Like Mary, fidelity to that yes is my journey, too. It is changing my life.

Life’s water flows from darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.
Night travelers are full of light,
and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.





11 thoughts on “Waiting in Darkness

  1. Jeanine M Werner

    Sending you love and light Pauline. Your inner strength and spirit continue to sustain you even in the dark. You are doing miraculous work and I’m sure providing hope to some and love to all. May the new year bring you closer to your calling and know that your efforts are appreciated, on so many levels.


  2. Pauline, It sounds like you have been balancing yourself on the edge of a dark place and have been able to find the “good” in all that you continue to question. Step back from the edge and redirect yourself. Life can be so wonderful yet so difficult. The challenges keep us grounded.


  3. Rob Morrell

    Continuing to trust that there is light in the depths of darkness is no small feat. And to believe that we continue to be accompanied when we can feel so utterly alone makes no sense to our egos, of course. Only a fool would continue to believe such nonsense, the committee-in-the-head snorts. Yet this is the very thing that is demanded on the journey of faith at times, isn’t it?

    Thank you, Pauline – and merry, merry to you and Davis!



  4. Michele Cavoto

    So beautifully expressed Pauline. Your commitment to your faith journey and your courage are such an inspiration to me and many others. May God continue to be your guiding light. Wishing you and your son the blessings of this most holy Christmas season.


  5. Mary Ann Witte

    You continue to be in my prayers. I pray for blessings for you in 2018. ” Your ongoing yes is the Incarnation” God’s Peace! Mary Ann


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