The Letters…and me

There is probably no more universally respected person on the planet in the last several decades than Mother Teresa. For all the accolades, for all the good that she has done, she was largely unknown as a person, instead being mostly known for what she did (which was amazing).  One of the surprising things about her was the discovery of a dark and melancholy side of her that didn’t get exposed until her father confessor released the letters she’d written him, letters that for the most part referenced this internal darkness that she felt.

This darkness and struggle is nominally the story of the new movie “The Letters” that I saw over the holidays (I suspect it’ll have a short theater run, given the topic).  I say nominally because I went to the movie with the hope of finding out more about her struggle and her thoughts on that god-absent void space she felt. While the move was fairly good, and did a very nice job of showing India and the partition issues that have bedeviled it since, it was very limited in its discussion of her darkness.   It was the vehicle for the telling of the story, but yet without telling anything about that.

She had this sense of distance, of disconnect from God.  She apparently didn’t doubt His being, or his love, but she didn’t feel it in her life, in most of her life.  It was a life marked by distance and non-connection to Him.

I can relate to that.  I’ve struggled with my own distance from God, from feeling His love and presence.  It is a disconcerting thing for sure.  But I have learned that the struggle must, if I look at it objectively, be a testimony to my faith.  For without faith I would have walked away and stopped the struggle, given up and said “There is no god”.

And yet….and yet.

From as early as I can remember, I’ve looked at the stars in the heavens and known that there is God.  I watch the intricacy of my hands and how they move, and know there is a God.  I’ve listened to the songs of the birds in the early morning before the sun arises, or the song of one bird in the middle of the night, and know that there is a God.  The problem is that I know it; it resides in my head and mind, but can not traverse the gap to my heart and my feelings.  I could count on one hand the times I’ve felt his presence.  I could count on the other hand with spare digits the times I’ve felt loved by anyone.

Oh well.  Maybe this year.

For either of those feelings to come again.





One response to this post.

  1. Beautiful analysis and description of the tension between believing solidly in God and not feeling him personally.


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