I could not sleep last night, so I sat in a recliner from 2:30 to 4:00 AM staring into the darkness at nothing. There was no single thought percolating through my mind. There was no despair, no crying, or regrets—just acceptance. It was acceptance of what’s to come that my body provided warning signs of its declaration of impending death. Through all my life’s shame and successes, it comes to a moment of acceptance of all the mistakes, failures, and everything that regularly haunts me despite denying any such thoughts. And every night, I accept them. And every night, they return. The cycle repeats during only those hours of the morning. It is a time of love. It is a time of hate.

I used to love the time, moments when I could commune with Ms. K., God, Christ, and the world ever after. In the weeks and months, fondness has evaporated as I sit alone. Darkness is my only companion. Neither God, Ms. K., nor Christ has visited. 

Maybe my focus is flawed. Perhaps they’re there, but I cannot reach them. Perhaps it’s the pain. Perhaps it’s the medication. Perhaps I’ve been discarded by God, like an owner dumping trash. Either way, I stare in the void, lost in thought.

Still, I can sense Ms. K.; I can feel God, I can breathe the Spirit. They are there; it is just that I can no longer connect. Sometimes, I want to call AT&T. “I like to report a problem. Can someone check my line to Heaven? No one’s responding.” Maybe all of us experience such a moment. Perhaps we will be just like Christ as He uttered, “My God, My God, Why has thou forsaken me?” I shook off such thoughts, swallowed some medication, pulled myself into bed a smidge before 4:00, and fell asleep until a little past 6:00. 

The early morning sun pierced the drapery by 6:20. And For the first time in weeks, I awoke feeling well enough to return to work. Things worked in unison. Hands, feet, and fingers operated on command. I could reach for a cup, grasp that cup: minimal shaking, minimal back pain, and minimal presence of Parkinson’s. I felt normal. I could ease back into normalcy. I could be physically present, not just another face via Zoom. As I headed out to work, my cellphone rang.

My friend knows just enough to understand that my health is declining but not why. “Aren’t you afraid you’re (my body) getting worse?” I confirmed my body is worsening but explained I wasn’t fearful. Everyone will experience some form of degradation. That’s the nature of this world. We come, and we go. The end process may not be ideal, but we all leave. I reiterated a story once heard from Tony Robbins (or I believe it was Robbins).  

‘A Buddhist Monk was experiencing end-stage cancer. Even with his body being ravaged, the monk continued to participate in his ‘Sangha’ (Buddhist community).

A young woman asked, “How can you participate and be joyous while cancer eats your body?”

“Young woman,” the monk replied. “My body may be having a bad day, but I am not.’” 

Even in the night-time silence, I know God is there. I understand Ms. K. is there. Sure one may decide silence is meaningless. For others, the silence will gradually become menacing. But I remember the hope. Of course, silence may be unbearable, but it can also symbolize hope, life, or a sign of death’s defeat. When Jesus cried, “Why,” He was saying to everyone, “Been there, my friend.” What’s overlooked is the promise, “… behold, I am with you always even unto the end.” We forget God is with us, even unto the end. Despite the silence, I know God is there. I feel Him. I also sense Ms. K. And while it may seem as though God may have forsaken me, He has not.

Mother Teresa was said to have walked 50 years in darkness (Dark Night of the Soul). It is propose that during the years of silence, God was claiming Mother Teresa for his own. God pledged himself to her, just as He does for us. Thus, in my silence, I do find the Spirit continually pruning selfish love and pride. He purifies the soul, mind and strips all that keeps us from total communion. It’s with this premise that I, too, can state, “My body may be having a bad day, but I am not.”

Faith is not about extraordinary phenomenon. Faith is not about visions or experiencing something incredibly miraculous everyday. Sometimes, those experiencing the dark night must walk in faith, believing in that which remains unseen. Therefore, I continue to urge everyone to reach through the silence. If you do, He will come. I know it.