Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Fear of St. Arsenius


The desert. I think about being in the desert a lot. On one hand it is this beautiful place of solitude and deafening quiet, on the other a place of death and predators. It's hot during the day and cold at night... extremes that never really allow you to be comfortable. Plants are thorny, animals hungry, bugs all bitey.... not really that fun. For some reason though, I tend to want to go to the desert. I want to grab Izzie, a gun and a backpack and just head out to nowhere. I want to place myself in this harsh climate to be alone and stripped down before myself and God. No radio, no people, no computer or email, no work, no ministry, no church, no nothing. I think I need to go for a week...5 days. Enough time to really let the loneliness and solitude set in, long enough to really be alone.
Last time I did this was for a couple of days up in Caprock Canyons. It was beautiful, but I wasn't alone long enough and I wasn't far enough away from people. Miles away is where I long to be....miles away from everything. That way if I need something I can't just jump in the truck and drive 20 minuets to go get it. If I want to call CC I cant drive a few minutes to find a signal. I need to be isolated and inconvenienced. Forced to not distract myself and forced to face my petty anxieties and worries.......how's CC, how's the house, how's the church, the ministry, the staff, the board, the family, etc..... Forced not to distract myself away from God by these normal things in life.
Maybe I don't have to go anywhere for this. Maybe I am actually in the desert right now. It could be that once again, God has led me into a place of death and dissatisfaction--where even His voice is not clearly heard. It could be that I am in a place of no comfort....not the heat of the day or the chill at night. It could be that I am in a place of harsh solitude. It could be.
But regardless....either way....I walk it out and survive by faith. Prayer, crying out to God for mercy, sitting still to listen, and....something else.....just don't know what that is yet. Maybe the journey out of the desert will reveal that. Whenever that is and wherever that may be.

2 comments:

DJ Walker said...

Did you ever read Merton's book on the Desert Fathers? It's a slim volume with lots of quotes; great stuff.

BC said...

I haven't..... I'll check it out though. I really dig Merton's writings