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We don't need to retire to a cloister or the desert for years on end to experience a true dark night; we don't even have to be pursuing any particular "spiritual" path. Raising a challenging child, or caring for a failing parent for years on end, is at least as purgative as donning robes and shaving one's head; to endure a mediocre work situation for the sake of the paycheck demands at least as much in the way of daily surrender as do years of pristine silence in a monastery. No one can know in advance how and where the night will come, and what form God's darkness will take. Tim Farrington A Hell of Mercy