The call came at 2:30 am. It was accompanied with a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach.
If there was any saving grace, it’s this; it wasn’t ‘the call’ that comes in the middle of the night from a policeman or loved one who regrets to inform you that life has changed forever. This soul has already endured such a disastrous intrusion once. A person can only hope that such an ordeal is reserved for only one occasion in a soul’s eternal experiences.
Still, there’s a person on the other end of the line when ‘the call’ comes in. As gruesome or grueling as their message might be, it is conveyed in concrete terms. Someone you love has been stricken with calamity and the five stages of grief now awaits. The conditions of this interminable transaction are clearly put forth.
In contrast, the call that came this particular evening was different. It came from some internal alarm, heralding unrest, uncertainty, and an indistinguishable premonition. Even though its demands were far better than those of ‘the call’, it wasn’t without rigors. There was no identifiable voice at the other end of the line nor were there clear terms of a new contract. Rather, there was just some vague sense that something was amiss with hardly any pointers on how or what to do to resolve it.
The dark night of the soul had come calling and God only knew how to reckon it.
If there’s one lesson this soul has learned from this unwelcomed intruder it’s this; don’t fight it. Sit with it and hold its hand. Try to listen to whatever it ushers in from the far-reaches of the nether world. Savor the fact that it’s the one interaction where eye contact isn’t required. Keep your eyes closed for as long as you wish. Sometimes, sleep returns.
This soul wasn’t so fortunate to find sleep on this particular night. There were too many things that churned like a rotisserie over an open flame. There were remnants of grief and trauma, tuition payments, and concerns on two continents. The jet lag from the week before didn’t help matters either.
The internal unease never once tipped its hand as to the true source of the evening’s disturbance. All the things that swirled in the eddy of confusion were enscounsed in the background of life. One concern flitted about until its wings tired. Soon another one took its place at the center of consciousness. There was even a predictable cadence to which concern would have its say next. None of them brought with them any outright solutions let alone relief. They all seemed content just to squawk.
Then out of the blue, the concerns of a writer’s voice came into the picture. It was much different than the other ones. Whereas the other ones were like hairy monsters with ice picks, axes, and slings in their hands, the writer’s voice was like a little child with a blanket in his hand who was aroused in the middle of the night and needed the comforts of his parents for reassurance. Thankfully, it was the perfect distraction to all the other concerns that darkened the night.
The writer’s voice brought into bed thoughts about his latest works. This soul had self-published a book and wondered what to do in order to get others to read it. The book had an important message in it about the preeminence of love he so desperately wanted to share with others. Yet, the book achieved no traction on its own.
All of this is absolutely true. The awakening, the disturbances, concerns back home, and questions about the book all disrupted this soul’s sleep one night in June. Moreover, what came next is the God’s honest truth.
This soul prayed to God for guidance. In the middle of a prayer seeking divine assistance on what to do with a self-published book about love, the ding of a text message rang out from my cell phone.
Much to my delight, the text was indeed about the book. A cousin had just completed the book Lunch with Buddha and found its message to be similar to the message in my book. She had enjoyed both books immensely and sent a text message providing details of the other book’s publisher.
Some people might chalk this up as a coincidence. That’s unfortunate because there’s a dance that awaits those who wrestle with the workings of God. It’s like the dance Garth Brooks sings about in his song with the same name.
“And now I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go,” plays the first part of the refrain. It speaks to all the uncertainty that surrounds our souls’ journeys through this world. All the things that come crawling to our doorsteps in the middle of the night. Some of them are like hairy monsters with ice picks, making you wonder how you’re going to pay for two kids in college soon. Others are much more managable, like the aspirations you have for a breakthrough in your writings.
“Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain; but I’d have to miss the dance,” plays the second part of the refrain. It speaks to the blissful sense of uninhibited joy one experiences, like that on a dance floor, when you come to realize that their is a Divine Architect out there who hears the whispers of our souls in the middle of the night and connects us to others for comfort and support. Moreover, a personal relationship with God awaits those who are willing to place their struggles–to include the disastrous things that accompany ‘the call’–before Him and enter into the divine dance we call life.
Rest assured, the dance is not for the faint of heart. This was never more apparent to me then when I came to realize that the details my cousin texted me were of a publisher who is now defunct.
© Gregory Masiello, 2017