About the T S Eliot quote in the subtitle ~

"I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God..."
This quote is from T.S.Eliot's poem "East Coker".  In that poem Eliot describes the devastation as well as the paradoxes that confront us in times of acute crisis.  Those two lines in particular summed up a lot of what was going on for me during my time in the Wasteland.

In common with many others in times of difficulty I searched for meaning in the collapse of my world.  Did my suffering have some purpose or was it simply the continued grinding of impersonal fate on a soul in torment?  

I had always taken the existence of God for granted but now forced myself to consider that this might not be so.  The emphasis of contemporary Christian teachings seems to be on God's unconditional love.  Given the quantity and variety of suffering forced on our attention at every turn this view of the Almighty seems to be incomplete to say the least.  Spiritual dilemmas were at the very core of my crisis so the question of whether or not God exists and how the greater scheme of things works came close to overwhelming me.  

I had to conclude that my questions were irrelevant.  Whatever exists or does not exist is what it is, God included.  Things are true, or not, regardless of our thoughts and beliefs.  In a similar way the Earth is round regardless of our localised perceptions of its flatness.  I pushed the weighty questions aside, which in any case I had to - all my energy was focused on surviving as best I could; what I made of my situation was up to me.  But the further unanswered question of how to go on while disintegration continued and all my best efforts were fruitless was a constant source of pain and bewilderment. 

Trying to make things better and work things out when nothing worked only served to make my sense of devastation more complete.  I had to focus on the small everyday things, of managing one small practical thing at a time.  That was the best I could achieve.  But small achievements such as these are what life is made up of and make it possible to continue on.  That is what this chronicle, and indeed each of the Rushleigh Chronicles, is all about - small steps and slow, careful, sensible thinking.

In all other respects I had to let the Darkness of God or of Fate, or whatever else might be at work, ride over my world extracting its unfathomable forfeit and weather the storm as best I could.  I surrendered - not to death but to life, which at that time was chaos. This is the nature of life in the Wasteland.  The paradoxes are part of it.

I drew comfort from T.S.Eliot's poem which describes so clearly what I was going through.  I've quoted a larger part of the poem in my article "I said to my soul be still..."  This last part of Part Three is especially relevant here:
                    You say I am repeating
Something I have said before.  I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again?  In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
     You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
      You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
     You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
     You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
That is certainly how it was for me.  It wasn't the end of the world, or even the end of my world.  Rather, it was the end of my world as I knew it then.  And it turned out to be a change for the better.  Not entirely, but in terms of what I want to achieve with my life and maybe even be remembered for, definitely hugely for the better.

While I don't want to be unrealistic or to offer false encouragement about the circumstance of readers which I can't possibly know, I do want to say firmly, that good may come of adversity, not all at once, but perhaps little by little, and in the long term possibly even a fruitfulness that may not previously have been sought or imagined.  Meanwhile, hold on to life, and take care of yourself as best you can.

To go to Part 1 click this link:

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