How does one describe darkness? For darkness is not a thing. Darkness is the mere absence of light. What words can one summon to speak of sadness other than the absence of happiness?
No matter how one ministers the experiences of life repeatedly make their presence felt in one's thinking. Drawing a redrawing the boundaries of what one understands by truth.
I never expected darkness to feel so physical. To bear down on my body with such weight. To compress my breaths with its concrete facticity. I never knew what the absence of hope meant to those who have to keep going in its absence.
There is a side to ministry that says that you cannot let people know the person you really are. All your personal problems must be dealt with in private. There is always talk in ministry of expectations. I heard a woman who had been ordained many years talk of the time an archdeacon came to speak about women's ordination. This was back in the 1970s. The Archdeacon reported that he had no intellectual objections to women's ordination it's just that people needed to think about the sort of chap a vicar needed to be. The sort who had been at prep school with the local MP. The sort of chap who was able to chat to the retired colonel because he had been to the same public school as him. In short he concluded that women would never be the right sort of chap because they were not chaps.
I have had to struggle with people expectations in ministry too long. I am, and never have been the right sort of chap....
Now I cannot do that any longer....how to describe darkness. Perhaps I'll try tomorrow.