The Threshold of the Holy Struggle – Amy Martin

I want to tell you that your struggle is holy.

There are times when the things we know with our hearts and minds are at odds with our experience of the world. Nothing aligns in the neatly-aligned ways our rational mind believes it should; nothing harmonizes in the perfectly harmonized way our intuition for the whole sees that it could. We become caught, confused, tangled in the knots tied between our mind and our heart, lost somewhere between this world and the next. We’re left wondering where we are, and who we are, and why we are. We’re left by ourselves and in the dark, alone with our struggle.

“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”

All through the day and deep into the night we wrestle, trying desperately to pin something down. Attempting to untie the muddled and confusing things about ourselves, about others, about the world. Why doesn’t this make sense? Why is this so difficult? If only we could answer these questions we could put things back together; we could make sense of them; we could make things whole again.

If only we could use our available but limited power to make sense of our powerlessness.

So we fumble with ourselves and what we know and what we don’t know. We wrestle with the dissonance until we finally come to the place where there are no more answers and we can’t remember the questions. We finally come to the place where our power meets our powerlessness.

“When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.”

And it hurts. The dissonance hurts. All we want is to end the confusion and conflict, yet sometimes all we find in our honest struggle for truth is more struggle. So we wrestle, all through the day and deep into the night. We struggle, tumbling, helpless and alone toward; and when we get there, we find ourselves wounded.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But then light comes, because the dark and the night and the struggle are only part of the experience. We open our hands and unclench our fists as the grace of day breaks into this night, just as it does every night, captivating and comforting us with the beauty and warmth of its rising light. As the day fills the darkness, gratitude fills our tired, emptied body, and we know our life was spared. We’re relieved; we’re released.

“The sun rose above him as he passed the place. He saw God’s face, and he was limping because of his hip.”

The light comes, the sun rises, but the memory of the struggle lingers. We meet this day, and every day after, standing in this tragic gap. We hold forever a piece of the dark night in the open, vulnerable place where our power first met our powerlessness. We carry a sacred reminder in the form of a holy limp.

It is a holy limp. I want to tell you that your struggle is beautiful.

It’s holy and beautiful like the very light that releases us from it;
holy and beautiful like the intersection of night and day,
of struggle and lightness of being.
It marks the places we see the very face of God.



Amy Martin

Amy lives near the 45th parallel with her husband Matt, and her children; two middle schoolers, and a grade schooler. They all live with an English Shepherd and a leopard gecko. Her favorite activities include making things with her kids, building databases (really), as well as swimming in the summer, then walking on that same water in the winter, because that’s just what one does living 1/2 way between the Equator and the North Pole.


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