“I sat completely alone on the earth”

I sat completely alone on the earth.
Completely alone.
I saw myself sitting on that great globe.
Then it began.  The constantly recurring
dreadful anguish.
The globe began to spin with raging speed.
The trees cracked.  The mountains collapsed.
The ocean washed up out of the deep.
The wind howled in my ears: Let go!  Let go!  Let go!
I did not let go.  I clung to the earth
with mouth and hands and feet.
For I was afraid.  What will become of me
in this void, in this empty night?
Never, never . . .

Until I awoke.  Wet from perspiration and anguish.

    Now I am thirty-nine years old.  I have let it go.  It was about six years ago.  It happened, not in a dream, but during the day, in the midst of reality, and I felt: now I am finished, now anything can happen.  Sorrow or joy, or anything!  I loosened my grasp.  I surrendered myself to God’s will in something that became increasingly clearer, something that was a matter of life and death.  I was dragged along into emptiness.  I lost my bearings and my foothold.  Such an experience can drive one insane.  One could take one’s own life.  Everything becomes foreign to you.  You really feel you have lost your grip.  Lost.  You must be saved, born anew out of blood and darkness.

    And when it has come to this point, everything becomes new, even a flower, a butterfly, or the billowing of the wind in the reeds.

    But most of all Him.

   It is truly a matter of all or nothing.  It is heaven or hell for a person.  One becomes a person or an inhuman creature.  You stand before the grace-filled choice, particularly after the Incarnation of the Son.  Once!  One realizes later that life was pointing toward this all along, as the Old Covenant toward the New, as the night toward the day, as losing life toward gaining it.

   I write this for those who know it, so that they may rejoice with me in the Lord, and for those who are confronted with it, so that they will not turn back, for the Lord is also shepherd in the night.  He leads you through the dark valleys, and your heart can only come to the place for which it longs through dark valleys.

   A hurricane of love is raging over the earth, with his tugging, luring, shouting: Let go, give in, in God’s name give in, all of you together.

~Flor Hofmans (1925-1964), Flemish priest, professor in theology in Santiago de Chile (quoted in Wilfrid Stinissen, Into Your Hands, Father)

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