I wrote When God Walks Away to be a compassionate companion in a reader’s Dark Night. Employing Holy Week as a metaphor for the Dark Night, the book moves the reader through suffering and relinquishment into acceptance, loss, and then into surprising new life.
The work cannot be called a self-help book, for the lesson of the Night is that our help comes from God alone—even when what we have experienced as God has seemingly vanished. I hope readers will consider this text a silent friend in holy mystery. When God Walks Away contains no solutions for the Dark Night. We cannot ward off the Night as we would an insect attack. There is no repellant we can apply. Neither, if we are wise, would we so choose.
Rather, I hope this book serves as something readers can tuck under their arms as they foray into the Night’s adventure: a reminder that no one is alone in the Night’s private agony. The Dark Night of the Soul is a mystery as profound as God, its initiator. No amount of study could produce a writer equal to describing it. I feel rather like a blindfolded woman valiantly trying to describe an elephant by feeling only one of its legs. I can report in great detail what I know only in part! Therefore, in an effort at balance, the book includes the thoughts and imagery of souls across the centuries who participated in its mystery—souls like C. S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, the Psalmists, and Jesus. We will welcome their guidance as we navigate the Night’s blind terrain. Whatever wisdom resides between the book’s covers reflects first the searching work of God, and then the testimonies of a great cloud of witnesses.
Sprinkled throughout the text are practices that helped me, or other Dark-Night journeyers, survive the Night by keeping an open line to God. At one point I suggest an art gallery trip, at another some musical expression, at still another journal writing as a way to bear the pain. Readers can consider each practice as an item on a cafeteria line of nutritious selections. Some will suit their taste and some will not. Sample at will.
We have one task in the Dark Night: to endure. God will do the rest.