I wrote a while ago about the dark side of gratitude: about how, despite being able to fill pages and pages with things for which I’m grateful (choir, a job, clean water, the love of friends, family who stick by me, the list is literally endless), there are times I still feel like shit. Sometimes the most comprehensive gratitude list in the world just feels like a reason I should feel guilty for not feeling grateful enough.
Because sometimes all the things for which we’re grateful, all the things which flood our lives with meaning, which enriched us beyond what we’d ever hoped for, aren’t enough. They don’t lighten the darkness the way we wish they would. They don’t fill the void that we desperately try to avoid looking at so that we don’t have to acknowledge it. Sometimes, the most vibrant shower of blessings mean nothing in the face of the bleakness of life. And then, just to add to our burden, we then get to feel guilty for being an ungrateful little shit who needs a good slap and a wake-up call.
But this is what John Main has to say about the issue: although life can be enriched by “gold veins of clarity and joy” – relationships, or creativity, or fulfilling work – there will always be fragmentation if these veins are not integrated into the deeper mystery of God. If I am not unified as a whole person, creature carried in the soul of my Creator, then I will never be anything other than broken, disjointed, incomplete. I will never truly be at peace, no matter how rich the veins of gold are.
I can only be made whole if I dwell, fully, in the wholeness of the Source of my being. If I am fully inserted into the Origin of my life. If I am fully open and present to the Force of compassion.
Then I will be one in Oneness with the Divine, and those shards of my life – richness and bleakness together – will also be one. And I will continue to be grateful for my blessings, and I will continue to rage against and mourn the darkness, but I will be at peace carried in and carrying the Origin of my very being.
And that will be nice.