“I love the dark hours of my being” (Ich liebe meines Wesens Dunkelstunden).
I carry this opening verse of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke in my heart. For me it speaks not only of reconciliation with my shadow sides, but it also says something else. I for myself understand this verse as: “I love my emptiness. I love that dark abyss, somewhere deep in me, into which I can drop everything that has been occupying me throughout the day. I don’t always have to have things in hand; I can also let things fall from my hands from time to time. After the day comes the night: what a blessing.
Life tastes like more and more. As long as we are healthy and without worries, we feel space and freedom to develop plans, to take action and to build a beautiful world together: then we visit friends, we have fun, we become creative and enterprising and we also take others with us in our vitality. And imperceptibly, things grow over our head. Then both our own projects and those of others become too much for us. We lose the taste for it.
Fortunately, then comes that longing for silence and rest. It is the longing for meines Wesens Dunkelstunden, the longing for internalization and emptiness. The longing for God. Because the more I concentrate on that abyssal space within myself, the more I rediscover the true sense of life. The sense of life that does not arise from pleasure or having fun, but the sense of life that comes up in me. God is free. He lives in me just like that. He is that fertile soil in which everything can rest and from which everything also arises again.
“All is vanity and grasping for the wind,” says Ecclesiastes (Eccles. 1:14). I love such a phrase. I love to realize that in all my striving, all my enterprises, I am in the end grasping for the wind. Everything is vanity. Everything ultimately rests in God, in that fertile Nothingness, that holy emptiness. That gentle breeze too, which Elijah heard (1 Kings 19: 11-13). That gossamer caress of the air, reminding me that I exist and live fully. No human enterprise that even gets close to such a power.