I never thought of God as Santa Claus or a mail order catalog, so I can’t say I have ever been disappointed with God. But yes, there have been times when my longing for God’s presence was unfulfilled.
There never seemed to be any external circumstance that set it off. It was just a shift in consciousness, like suddenly waking up to the fact that you have been thrown from an airplane and you are hurtling toward the earth. Two things were unbearable. One was called Life and the other Death. Neither was acceptable, yet both were inevitable. It was the great Cosmic Dissonance. It was the excruciating realness of the present moment.
It could come at any time. I could be sitting in a chair, driving a car, lying in a bed, eating a meal. Sometimes the memory of it happening before would open a crack in the door and allow it to flood back in.
I didn’t think of it as an unfilled longing for God. I just knew I had no concept of God that could answer it. Toward the end I began to think that maybe it was God, demanding my surrender to something larger than the confines of my own mind. In the five years before my diagnosis of epilepsy, it started coming at me in short, brilliant episodes that would leave me stunned and yet inexplicably peaceful, and a little sad.
The diagnosis changed everything. The medication seems to have restrained the demon. Now I am left to wonder, what was that all about? Was it God, using my illness to call attention to His presence? Has the monster really gone for good, or will it find a way to break out and torment me again into new levels of understanding?
I am beginning to think now in terms of connections, patterns, adventures. There are clues hidden everywhere. I think I am no longer afraid, but I haven’t really gone and stood in line at the roller coaster yet. Still the forward motion is inevitable. Perhaps I am beginning to see myself strapped in, belted down, and beginning to move.
— Jim Nail