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Finding your way without a compass

Has there ever come a moment in your life when you felt overwhelmingly weak, depleted, like you can't possibly go on anymore?  Do you ever feel that that every prayer or good deed feels dry,emotionless? And you seem to be only going through the motions?  Do you ever feel the ecstatic feelings of falling in love slowly wither away amidst the daily struggles of life?  Do you ever feel so lost, so confounded by life that nothing makes sense; that the only thing that you can do is to keep plowing forward even when you don't know what forward is anymore?  Have you ever journeyed in this life feeling like you were lost in the wilderness with no compass, no direction back home?

I would argue that we have all felt that way at one time in our lives.  I know that there have been many moments in my life that I have felt like nothing made sense, that everything that I did was pointless and that there was no direction, no light at the end of the tunnel, only a broken compass to lead me on.   During these  times (which seemed never ending) the only thing that I could do was "to do the next right thing, to keep on moving, to keep on trudging forward. Sometimes moving forward, and not looking backward is all that we can do.  I feel that sometimes this type of stripping away of our compasses is a gift from God, a way of him forcing us to rely on him more and on ourselves less. This radical stripping away of our comfort and security, our compass is a way of God purifying our love for him.  Most of the saints went through this period, "the darkness of the soul" when they had no consolations, no joy, a period of morbid doubt and pessimistic introspection. Some saints such as Mother Theresa may have undergone this spiritual darkness throughout most of their lives.  St. John of the Cross reflects upon this spiritual darkness in a letter that he writes to a devout who was suffering great spiritual dryness as he reflects,

"You were never better off than now, because you were never so humble nor so submissive, nor considered yourself and all worldly things to be so small, nor did you know that you were so evil...nor did you follow after the imperfections you were accustomed to do.  What is it you desire?  What kind of life or method of procedure do you paint for yourself in this life? What do you think serving God involves than avoiding evil, keeping his commandments, and being occupied with the things of God as best we can?"

Whenever we feel that we have no compass, no direction in our lives maybe instead of asking God to remove these obstacles we can ask him instead to join us in the struggle.  Sometimes the only consolation lies, not in merely avoiding the pain, but having someone to journey with us.  Although none of us will never understand God's ways, the one thing for sure is that he will never abandon us.  In this we need to place all of our hope, because even though our compass might be broken the flame of God's presence can never be extinguished.  He is always there with us, as long as we keep on moving forward.


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