The following is excerpted from "Mystics: Ten Who Show Us the Ways of God" by Murray Bodo. The last chapter is about Lax and I like how Bodo is able to pull from Lax's writing the vocation of waiting that is at the heart of his spirituality.
"I open my eyes in the dark and see darkness. I close my eyes, even in the light, and see darkness. All the same darkness. Almost the same. Light comes and goes, but the darkness stays. Almost always the same. A fairly steady darkness. One you can count on. Almost." (Lax, 21 Pages, p. 191)Almost. Because even darkness becomes a sort of light that is not darkness.
"My observatory powers in the meantime had grown keener. I could see in the dark. I could see much further into the dark than before.” (Lax, 21 Pages, p. 194)Even of darkness Lax is positive, grateful, blissful.
“My dark night of the soul, if that’s what it is. My long night’s waiting, if that’s what it is. I saw a lot more then, on those nights of sleeping, not sleeping under bridges, sleeping, not sleeping on benches, under trees, in barn or on church steps than I’m seeing now. No matter. I continue to watch." (Lax, 21 Pages, p. 194)For Lax the watching is all because,
“I’m looking ahead. I’m looking toward some point, some vanishing point, or anyway, not yet visible point in the distance, in the future where something or someone I’d recognize would appear. (Where you would appear.) ….
“My person. My beloved, if you like; my sought-after-being, my remembered-one, would be there.” (Lax, 21 Pages, p.197)I love that in this passage and throughout Lax's oeuvre, there is no mechanical, muscular working to attain some goal, to attain God, but a looking, a waiting, a receptivity to receive the other. Lax has no righteous sense of his won accomplishment in work or in prayer or of his own virtue. Insead all he is and brings is ...
“A readiness to recognize you; that’s all I’ve brought, that’s what I bring to the encounter.” (Lax, 21 Pages, p.197)And even then, even recognizing why it is he waits and looks in silence, he doesn’t take credit for that stance. Rather, he says,
"I didn’t give up because I couldn’t. I didn’t, because I was made to go on waiting. Made, put together, invented, born, for that single, singular purpose: to watch, to wait. There’s no giving up on who you are … I’ve wondered sometimes if you came, and I saw you, and I knew you were there, I’d continue to go on waiting.” (Lax, 21 Pages, p. 198-199)
- Mystics: Ten Who Show Us the Ways of God, by Murray Bodo, Kindle Location 3178 of 4267