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Into the Darkest Dark

Midnight Ferry from Belfast...

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On the midnight ferry from Belfast, as most others sleep and prepare for tomorrow, I find myself instead on the outer deck.

Off the stern to the left the familiar lights of the city drift and begin to fade.


The memories of our recent days visit flood my mind and heart —
storied with conflict well documented in its murals and monuments,
now a city that felt welcoming and warm, a proud city that works and serves.


My gaze then turns to the right and what my view beholds is mesmerizing — for there is nothing…


On this night, there is no moon to shine on the water or to light the way ahead, no stars to give direction.


There must be clouds but they blend without form into the black sky.


There is the hum of the engine and the soothing cadence of the water breaking where the ship meets the top of the sea.


A lady in a dark raincoat sits alone on a bench nearby enjoying a cigarette,
the chilly night breeze demands attention as it strikes the skin of my face.


And I peer, and then stare, into the darkest dark…



Photo by Author (Midnight on the Irish Sea, Oct 2022)

It is to there that we move forward, yet not able to physically see one single sign that we are moving in the right direction, that there is safety ahead, or that we are in the right place at all.


And yet we move forward — with trust or faith.


But trust or faith in what? In whom? And yet we go…


Looking into the darkest dark, the only thing I am able to truly see is myself.

For there is no better illumination into the deepest corner of hearts than stillness and emptiness.


Deprived of the external our vision moves inward.


I soon realize that this is not at all a darkness of fear or dread,
but more of an empty black canvas waiting patiently for its artist…


In the darkest dark somehow there is hope, there is gratitude and renewal.
And onward we sail into whatever by fate awaits us…

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