Winter is associated with darkness and fallow ground. Night and darkness often inspire fear in us. The joining of ‘sweet’ and ‘darkness’ in the title of a David Whyte poem 'Sweet darkness' is somewhat surprising. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed a man sows sprouts and grows, though he does not know how (Mark 4). All by itself the soil produces grain. What grows grows in darkness, in silent and rich soil. The farmer surrenders to the stillness and emptiness of sleep and to the unaided mystery of growth. This darkness is sweet.
You are the space that embraces my being and buries it in yourself . Edith Stein.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see. David Whyte
Part of the cycle of the soul appears to include burial or, to borrow a line from Wendell Berry, the ‘willing descent into grass’. We are buried with him that we may have a new life (Romans 6). Might it be a falling into the arms of the one who loves us? Sinking into the darkness of silence and the stillness of our own heart and finding the Christ who indwells, and who rises to meet us? Practically it may mean a seasonal further commitment to enter the ‘Great Silence’, reconfiguring our Sabbaths (our rest from speech, from work...) or stopping the mind from its demands to do more and to squeeze time of its juices. The prospect of spaciousness and a new horizon beckon.
In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
We demand fruit out of season on the shelves of our supermarkets and generate creative projects to prod and exhort the weary soul. The relentless call for constant productivity resists seasons, quashing the wax and wane of life’s cycles. Yet to reflect upon the spareness of winter may awaken in and align our souls towards surrendering to the wisdom of rest and to the renewal of sight and hope. We may not know what is being nurtured in silence by the indwelling Spirit who tends our soul, nor how it might yet emerge. We are challenged to patiently trust this sweet darkness.
May my heart trust
the One who loves and tends my soul.