This is not a pulpit sermon, this is a blog post, which means I can be irresponsibly personal and say whatever I want.
And that is good, because I really have something on my heart right now.
It’s something small and insignificant in the scope of the issues facing society, but I know you understand how a small, niggling worry can undermine your outlook until it colors your whole world.
So let me go ahead and admit up front: this piece is not some great theological treatise and you may not take anything away from it that deepens your own spiritual journey.
This is just me telling you that I’m stuck.
Here’s the deal: I thought I had written a whole book, but it turns out I’ve only written half a book, and now I’m not sure I can finish it.
It’s called The Darker Blessings: Finding God in Doubt and Depression, and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done so far on it.
So is my editor—he says all the writing I’ve submitted to him is really solid.
His feedback said that I’ve really delved into the darkness and mined it for its treasures. The problem is that there’s not enough light, and I have to admit he’s right.
The basic structure of the book is to explore what we would normally call “dark” emotions or experiences, like anger, fear, or regret, and explore how each of them was a way to God for someone in the Bible.
So I talk about Mary of Bethany’s journey with grief, for example, and Nicodemus’ experience of uncertainty, and Pilate’s relationship with fear.
And with each of these chapters, I tell a bit of my own story.
The problem for the reader, my editor says, is that while they can see clearly how depression and darkness created the crucible for my spiritual journey and held me underwater for my entire young adulthood, they can’t see how I came to the other side of it.
The reader doesn’t magically understand how blessed and fulfilled I am now. I have to tell how I got from there to here, from suicidal to (most days) really happy.
I think there are a couple of things going on here.
First of all, I very much did not want to write a book with a happy ending all tied up in a bow.
Real life is not like that, and real life with God is especially not like that. Continue reading