Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Entering The Void (If The Race Is Over - Part 3)

The following is a continuation in a series breaking down the song "If The Race Is Over" by singer/songwriter Daniel Nahmod:

If the usual way doesn't work for me now
That's a void I know nothing about

Have you ever had your life completely fall apart? Perhaps you've lost your job or a relationship has come to an end. Maybe your academic successes have all of a sudden turned into massive failure, or maybe you've been diagnosed with a terminal disease.  

For myself, my whole worldview fell apart. It was as a result of a change in theological belief. I didn't believe in certain core fundamentalist Christian tenets anymore and as a result everything seemed to fall apart, leaving a void where my ideas about truth once stood.  

At first I did not take this major shift gracefully. Beer, vodka, and wine "helped." I was angry and I didn't even want that anger to go away for awhile.  I wondered who I was if I didn't have these beliefs anymore, I didn't know exactly where I fit in within society.

Perhaps you have had some of these feelings. Anger, bitterness, resentment, emptiness. 

"If the usual way doesn't work for (you) now," my encouragement to you is that this isn't the end, as much as it may seem like it sometimes.  I have a disdain for cliché's like "When God closes a door, he opens a window," but that's the thing about cliché's - they can often bear some truth.  

But let's talk about "the void" for a moment.  Often we will go to great lengths to steer away from pain, anger, depression, resentment.  And we want something/one to cling to. But I am learning that often life is more about the questions and the journey rather than the answers. Sometimes you have to walk straight into that void (or at least on the edge of it) and look into it. Imagine that it's a puddle and you can splash your foot gently into it, or you can walk right into the middle of it and kick the water around.  

Sometimes the most growth happens when we let go of our "usual ways" and simply say, "I have no idea what to do with my life, but I will make it, I will be OK...eventually.  Sometimes we stay in the void for a few days, or sometimes it's weeks or a few months.  Often we need the help of a close friend, or professional to help us during this time. Spiritual directors are often helpful.

But I encourage you that as much as the puzzle seems to have been dropped onto the floor and some pieces are missing, new life, new perspectives, new opportunities will eventually arise out of the void. You may consider a complete career change, you might find your true love, you might go on that trip that you've been putting off for years. But most importantly, you will find a strength within you that perhaps you hadn't previously known.

The void is not the end. It is only the beginning.

Mark Andrew Alward