19 Dec Spiritual Growth-level one
Michael’s problems persisted throughout grammar school and beyond. I dreaded school conferences and winced every time a mother of one of his classmates called. My spirit broken beyond repair, I made what some might have considered a counterintuitive decision. I took part in a community-wide Holocaust study. On some level, I knew that this epic historical drama would serve as a metaphor for my own personal struggles.
The course consisted of group discussion and lecture material. I joined in as we analyzed films, historical commentaries, novels, and personal accounts. Watching the documentary Shoah, an incapacitating cosmic loneliness overcame me. I felt all-consuming dread at the thought of living alone in an absurd and meaningless universe.
Because of college reading that deconstructed and debunked religion, I had little confidence in rational thought as a way to reach God. Freud explained away belief by citing unmet father needs and wish fulfillment. The Existentialists wrote of the devastating consequences of life without God, often with greater insight than any theologian could. Camus believed there was only one serious philosophical question—that of whether to commit suicide or not.
For months after my study, I peddled aimlessly in place with no direction or purpose. With increased sensitivity to suffering in general, I had difficulty watching the news or reading the newspaper. Instances of life’s injustice, previously brushed aside in my mind, now became a major point of focus. I wondered where people found the strength of character to overcome such dire circumstances. In truth, I didn’t know where I would find the strength.
My preoccupation with hard issues proved to be a necessary phase of a healthy spiritual process. As my heart loosened, it gave way to a profound yearning for God. Admitting that the material world could not alone sustain me, I embarked on an extensive course of reading. I would soon learn that man had a spiritual alternative—one completely alien to the mindset of modern, enlightenment philosophy.