Lessons in Faith from a Juggler

Have you ever felt stuck? I don't mean on the side of the road in your sedan. I'm talking about in your faith- in a rut, not feeling God's presence and not enjoying things at all.

All of us go through it. St. Teresa of Avila was known to have experienced what is often called "spiritual dryness" for nearly 17 years! St. John of the Cross famously called this the "dark night of the soul". Everything seems black and you feel alone.

I've been there and it doesn't feel good.

Not to trivialize the dark night (because it's not fun, let's be honest) but there are two things about it worth noting:

1. It's good if you realize that you're feeling sideways in your faith. That means you can still feel. You're not numb to things and God is still nudging you forward. Acknowledge it, write about it, talk to God about how it feels and ask what it might mean. Stick with your morning devotions and pray for the grace to stay on this side of the conflict.

2. Have a sense of humor about it. This isn't like laughing at a car crash on your way to work out of nervous energy. This is about acknowledging that you're human and sometimes life gets the best of you. It's almost like going on a diet and then falling off the tracks at the hands of a delicious pack of Mrs. Fields white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. The crumbs are in your lap and you realize you've just devoured six of the little devils in the span of two minutes. Just smile, wipe off your mouth and move on.

If you anticipate imperfection, the fall will be far less painful. Getting back up will become part of your routine.

My friend Gene is a juggler who talks about the importance of having a "drop line". In other words, when he drops a bowling pin, he already has a funny line ready to say. The audience thinks it's funny and he just moves on with the show, calmly picking up the pin as if it's part of his act.

Imperfection is part of the thing. This applies to life, juggling and living as a disciple of Christ.

Question: When was the last time that you had to push through a spiritually dry patch?