Into the desert …

It occurs to me that deserts come in many shapes and sizes. They needn’t be made up of a seared landscape, and lack of water isn’t really the point. If you were adrift on the ocean I’d think that desert enough. I think a desert, rather than being what most folks think of when they hear the word, is something, some place, else. And I’m talking about things spiritual, which are more real than the physical. A desert is rather a place to go, to experience silence, to meditate, to just think. Or maybe to escape thought. To really experience these things requires an “apartness”, a kind of solitude that in some way excludes others, at least for a time, like Jesus going on ahead in the garden to pray alone, so that there is silence, there is time to meditate without interruption, and time to think or not think. The truest most real desert is found in a spot not geographical in nature. And everybody goes there at times whether they want to or not. Like Judas going apart from the rest after betraying Christ.

For the person who wants to go it is a time for joy. Joy at the thought of being apart from others in order to be apart with God. I think this is what a real hermit would feel, would think of their solitude. Its a precious commodity in today’s world, this solitude. But it is possible. It takes effort to go into the desert. The effort only proves its worth.

I said everybody goes there whether they want to or not. The people who want to go are blessed over time because their hearts desire (remember those words, “hearts desire”) will at some point be realized. If not in this life then in the next. But the others, the ones who go into this very real and very personal desert without wanting to, these are the folks truly deserving of pity. They call this desert “loneliness” and consider it a curse. And so it is. For them. Because they don’t know the value of silence, because they aren’t equipped to meditate, or to honestly think or to turn loose of thought. And this makes their desert a personal hell because its a very lonely place when the heart’s desire is anything other than God. Why? Simple. There isn’t anything else real to be found in the desert. Everything else turns out to be seared and crumbles when they try to hold on to it. Matthew 6:20. And the lack of water turns it all to dust that blows away. John 7:38. Or an over abundance of water, taken from the wrong spring, washes everything of worth away. 2 Peter 3:5-7.

We get to choose.

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” Thomas Merton.

In the desert of the heart we find the hearts desire, whoever or whatever that may be.

We get to choose.



Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm  Comments Off on Into the desert …  
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