My life had been turned upside down. I found it difficult to function. This morning, everything had gone wrong and I hadn’t even dressed for work. I rushed to the dressing table I had inherited from my grandmother.
Stressed, I pulled on a drawer too hard and it fell out upside down, emptying its contents onto the carpet. This was the last straw and I burst into tears.
Then, I stopped. Folded many times and tucked between the bottom and the back of the drawer, only visible from this angle, was a tiny, yellowed scrap of paper torn from an exercise book.
I prised it out and opened it. In my late grandmother’s handwriting was a message from beyond the grave. Stunned, I read these beautiful words:
In the dark night of the soul,
Bright flows the river of God.
A message reaching out to me in perhaps my darkest hour. I dried my tears, put the drawer back and made it to work on time.
I have never forgotten this beautiful message and say it to myself whenever things are grim. I often think of my grandmother and what may have inspired her to write this verse on a scrap of paper and tuck it in the back of a drawer where I would find it decades later. Yet it was only recently that I thought to wonder where she had found these glorious, inspirational and healing words.
This was how I discovered the heart-rending story of Saint John of the Cross; his love and piety; his evil treatment at the hands of so-called men of God. Part of his story can be found here.
Sometimes, when I come upon the dark things of History, it is good to remember that there are wonderful treasures there, too.
Words to inspire your life: From a man who should know!