Walking in the Light

 In Aging, SHIFT

How does one know if she is under a cloud? Indeed, how does one know when and how the cloud appeared? Then, once there is suspicion the cloud exists, what can be done about it? These are all spiritual questions that are critical to life. These are also very personal questions with which I have been confronted for some time now.

It has been several years that I have known a dark cloud was shrouding me. I first involved myself in study of the cloud itself. How was it formed, when, why? Since I am a widow, an observer might excuse the existence of my dark shadow. After all, losing one’s spouse of almost 40 years is tough. Add onto that a year spent fighting off the vile cancer with my husband. The plot thickens, or more to the point, the cloud darkens.

The nature of the cloud is to obscure the light. The nature of the light is to expose truth. The ensuing darkness also makes forward motion difficult. Shadowy roads are hard to follow. In fact, the resultant darkness limits visibility of the path’s trajectory. How does one decide the next spot to place one’s foot when so few visual cues exist?

So, for at least four years I have been laboring under, against this palpable fuzziness. Not unlike the Israelites in their desert sojourn, I did not feel comfortable or safe traveling more than one step or two at a time. Was I prayerful about each step? Most likely not, because, unlike the Hebrew travelers, I did not think I had the assurance that each step would be divinely ordered. Even as I say that, I know that as a Believer, I do have the promise God will light my path, but I also must state that I was not always sure I had heard Him. Many voices have vied for attention in my mind. Decisions have been a nightmare.

Contrast that with that my former married reality where most decisions were made together. As a couple we listened for the voice of the Lord. There was a deeper assurance of certainty in that world.

During my husband’s sickness, subsequent death and these ensuing widowhood years, I have had to keep moving to meet the numerous demands from other aspects of my life. I did not, could not, just sit back waiting for the dawn. People, circumstances were counting on me to be there in body and spirit. In the midst of this imposed busyness, I realize now I was burying my own needs, reactions, and dilemmas.

Some one recently paid me what she thought was a compliment. She said I had such a servant’s heart. I have never been good at accepting praise, but this one was quite painful because I do not believe I am a good servant. I do keep giving, doing, but it is to keep moving – point A to B, then C. The movement is the thing. It does mean that I have been blessing others, but it was not on purpose. I have been in survival mode. I fear I am much more selfish and self-centered than the last few year’s reflect. It has been easier to respond to the cries around me than to focus on the ones emanating from within.

Today I saw the cloud for what it has been. Today I heard a cry that could only have come from deep within my soul, my spirit. Today I knew I was a prayer away from relinquishing the onerous canopy that had enveloped my being. Today I grabbed the hand of a sweet friend and went for prayer at the end of a service. Today, by the power of God, the cloud lifted.

Now I can see the last few years. I can see where my decisions, or lack of, have taken me. I am amazed that I am not far off from where I think I should be. Perhaps because I have always been wary of moving forward without a confirming word from God, He is not far off. I do not know if those close to me realize how agonizing decision-making, even movement has been for me. It was even hard to have a zeal for life with such a clouded vista.

Now I feel a new vigor. I see a brighter path, or even paths. I have been in a holding pattern, a limbo of my own making. Now I am ready to grab hold, to move forward. I am not sure what direction I will be moving, but things are so much clearer that I know I will travel the path God intends for me. I am assured He will guide me.

I don’t expect to be agonizing over every step. He may give me a few steps at a time. I know the Israelites were more limited because they were in a wilderness. Interesting that theirs was also self-induced. In such a state of darkness, God is cautious to make us sure-footed if we will listen and watch. He wants us out of the wilderness. He is all about the Light.

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