Coming Home

This short creative piece from my Master of Divinity thesis was recently published in Lit, The Seattle School’s literary magazine.

“When God began to create heaven and earth, the earth was unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.”[1] God contained the chaos of both the deep and the dark, but their presence and power linger, just as potent, even now. The two are bound to one another, and like that deep, ancient ocean, darkness is vast, unfathomable, and dangerous.

The awful power and wisdom of the darkness arouse both our greatest fears and our most fantastic hopes—and perhaps inextricably confuse the two. Its potential is appropriately terrifying, but if we can muster the courage to pause long enough to witness the abundance of its true character, we may find that also like the ocean, darkness is beautiful and full of life.

Being able to see or reach out and touch the edges of a thing offers a sense of security and assuredness that both the ocean and the darkness refuse us. And whether by our own wandering, a violent tide, or unknown currents, one day we will find ourselves far out to sea, looking back for the shore, and it will no longer be there.

The land that God called out for us to stand on becomes a distant memory and the light that cannot be overcome[2] is extinguished. Here, among the crushing waves, we may confirm our belief in God while simultaneously losing our faith. We may discover that Judas did not betray Christ after all, but that is was, in fact, the other way around. We may begin to ask not whether God can forgive me, but whether I can forgive God.

In this most immense and horrible place, I am forced to reckon with the questions I have carried with me, hidden, for too long. I must contend with beliefs I built while safely on land, where I quietly stifled my doubts and welcomed voices that happily explained away nagging uncertainties. Beliefs I have taken too great of pains to protect. Beliefs I have made room for by making myself smaller.

One by one, the promises that have been handed down to me—that God is good, that God is for me, that God will never leave me—become deeply suspect.

When God began to create heaven and earth, the earth was unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep. And that roiling, chaotic deep, shrouded in darkness, was full of monsters. From before the beginning, it has held nothing less than my most fearful desires—my hopes that I have bound up with disgust. The darkness I long to escape can only be met head on, deep inside my heart—and like the ocean, I am beautiful and full of life. This is the place God makes a home and invites me to come find God there.

[1] Gen. 1:1–2 (Jewish Publication Society).

[2] “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” John 1:5 (New Revised Standard Version).

2 Comments on “Coming Home”

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