How do you engage with October’s spiritual theme, “Fear”?
Follenite Jane Spickett bravely steps up to start a series of blog posts from members about our monthly themes.
Email DCE Susanne with your submissions.
by Jane Spickett
The last leaf falls
the stark elegance
of loss revealed.
It’s that time of year. Soon after the Autumn Equinox I find myself closing curtains at night; curtains that stayed open through the summer. There’s a moment when I stand in front of the window and a feeling begins. Before it can fully form I reach out, pull once, and pull again. Safe!
The trees are still green, and I look forward to the beauty of red and gold, and yet that future moment when the possibility that an aching loneliness could catch me unawares is already whispering.
Some of this is atavistic, and some part of a legacy of childhood abuse.
Engaging with October’s spiritual exercise to draw the things we were afraid of as a child, I see that the roll of paper I drew on stretches the length of the kitchen floor. Thankfully it’s a small apartment! But I feel the results of the effort; I’m shaking. So why do it? Why risk the discomfort?
The Gospel of Thomas tells us that Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” I usually interpret that as a call to develop my gifts, but clearly it isn’t only that.
In the 12th century, Hildegard of Bingen, probably engaging with her own fears, wrote, “Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”
So, although I do not want to look at the drawings, I do – and feel such compassion for that stick figure child, and all others involved too. I look too at the one I drew representing adult fear: bars and a large question mark. Which is inside and which outside is unclear.
I am reminded that there were brave anti-apartheid activists imprisoned on Robben Island in South Africa who sometimes taught each other ballroom dancing.
I look out of the window into the darkness. I look. I breathe.
Me Too: It’s all right. You are safe.
MT: Come. I’ll hold you.
MT: There really is no need to be afraid. You may be uncomfortable for a moment – but then all the noise, all the voices, all the chaos, all that jangling energy will be absorbed … into me. And you will know a very important truth.
M: Who are you?
MT: I am Darkness and Silence.
M: What very important truth will I know?
MT: To know me is to love me!
MT: Let’s dance.
Like Wendell Berry, I “find find that the dark, too, blooms and sings.”