I am reminded of the ancient tradition of going into the desert to find God,
going away from worldly things hoping to hear the Voice.
We are in a strange twist of fate; we are in the world as wilderness. The desert has come to us without our permission.
Instead of thorny bushes, rocks and sand, hidden snakes and scorpions, there are hours of sameness, and mediocrity, there is silence and solitude and a sleepy modern comfort that galls, but there are still demons, demons that seek to make a home in my head.
Sometimes the air is electric with unheard cries of those in pain, here and around the world, victims of hunger, hatred, predatory greed. I feel my grief as a long and weary song, and sleep fitfully, not under the stars or the monastery roof,
but in an ordinary middle class bed,
so hypnotized by planetary despair I know it as my own.
I listen for the voice of God while sweeping my porch, donning my mask, and once again I see only half the mailman’s face. I pilgrimage to the grocery store in search of the Great Mystery. The wilderness can be anywhere.
In this place of melancholy I am thrown back on myself, back to the vastness of sand and sky, back to the discipline of singing the Hours we intoned in another life, back to fearlessness and faith, as
my Friend Within teaches me to read this desert for its abundant emptiness, reminding me to pay attention, and remember how often and how much God frequents and loves the desolate places.
© Linda Beatrice Brown