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Night is Coming – A Reflection

October 21, 2021
99.8% Sister Moon last night hiding in the clouds

My impatience is felt as an upheaval of resentment, disgust, depression. Yet I am joyful. I like life. I am happy with it. I have nothing to complain of. But a little of the chill, a little of the darkness, the sense of void in the midst of myself, and I say to my body: “Okay, all right then, die, you idiot!” But it is not really trying to die, it just wants to slow down. — Journal entry from October 2, 1962–Turning Towards the World: Thomas Merton’s Journals (vol. IV)

At almost forty-eight, Merton wrote the above words. I chuckled a bit because I tried to remember age forty-eight… I had been deployed and then returned from England to the US for my final Air Force assignment. I had no clue what was coming or how wonderful things would turn out after the storm of my own making. Then I realized that at the age of sixty-one I have lived longer than Merton.

My body too isn’t trying to die (sometimes it feels like it though 😉), it is indeed telling me to slow down. It made that especially loud and clear when we returned home after 14,000 miles of driving over two months caring for family and walking with my father-in-law and our good friend and Denise’s former mother-in-law through The Valley of the Shadows. Denise is still on the road every week between home and Alabama as she goes through the long process of settling her parent’s estate.

Besides a somewhat morbid sense of humor on my part (channeling my inner Merton?), I can see the delicate balance he described in his journal. The darkness and the light are very real. I do like life and am very happy with the life Denise and I continue to build together. I need to do a better job of remembering that when the dark days occur. At that point I can think of my favorite picture of Thomas Merton!

I would love to know what sort of mischief he was up to when this picture was taken!

Lord, help me to listen to my soul and my body. Help me to embrace the joy that is in life while acknowledging (not denying) the darkness that is also present. And finally, Lord, may I always choose love. Amen.

  1. I love the prayer. May we always choose love. 🙏🏻❤️

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