Thomas Wictor

The darkest nights approach

The darkest nights approach

The darkest nights of my life approach. We can’t do anything to stop them. What will be, will be.

I stopped going to church when I was eighteen. I’ve since made my peace with Catholicism. People like to say that they’re “recovering Catholics.” It’s supposed to be funny, but I’ve experienced too much pain myself and witnessed too much pain in others to laugh at that. I describe myself as a “lapsed Catholic.” My problems with Catholicism stem from fallible humans, not anything in the religion itself. Therefore my choice to never return to the church is not a criticism of the faith or the faithful.

My father was so terrified of death that he renounced his faith a few hours before he went into a coma. His religion should’ve comforted him, not driven him insane with terror. He was taught what I view as a warped version of his religion. And as we prepare for the second departure, the bitter irony of a praise of Saint Joseph—which I learned as a child—has come back to haunt me:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be[.]

Her beginning charted the course that has led to where we are today. What’s coming is unavoidable. Tim and I predicted it, but that doesn’t make it any less horrifying. However, free will is paramount, and we can’t impose what we want on those who absolutely reject…us, in a very fundamental way.

Yet even on the darkest nights, there’s light.

Black

I love the night. Most of all I love the moon. I wish I could visit it.

Each small gleam was a voice,
A lantern voice—
In little songs of carmine, violet, green, and gold.
A chorus of colours came over the water;
The wondrous leaf-shadow no longer wavered,
No pines crooned on the hills,
The blue night was elsewhere a silence,
When the chorus of colours came over the water,
Little songs of carmine, violet, green, gold.

Small glowing pebbles
Thrown in the dark plane of evening
Sing good ballads of God
And eternity, with soul’s rest.
Little priests, little holy fathers,
None can doubt the truth of your hymning,
When the marvellous chorus comes over the water,
Songs of carmine, violet, green gold.

Stephen Crane


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