One thing that most people know - water in the desert - very scarce - hard to find - mostly sand. When we decided to buy a home in Arizona we knew it had two features that we were looking for - warmth in the winter - mountains where we could hike. We had just completed our month long pilgrimage - walking 400 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage route took us literally through the back yards of Northern Spain - up into the mountains - down into valleys - across old Roman roads - bridges - challenging us most of the way - our first ultra light back packing experience. At the end - spiritually refreshed - enthused with that hiking experience - we wanted to do more hiking. In flat Illinois that was not possible - so we found a place in the warm Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Once there we were able to hike and were surprised with how beautiful the desert is, There is no water - but the plants that survive in the desert are unusual and very interesting - boring cacti that grow beautiful flowers - completely unexpected.
Everyone will - at some time in their life - have a desert experience. One does not have to physically be in a desert - the lonely isolation - feeling completely alone - walking in a space - barren - void of that which distracts. In Lent we are asked to journey with Jesus - to place ourselves mentally - spiritually - in the desert with Him. Contemplating - meditating - on our own life - the path we have been following - making decisions - to stay that path - walk a new direction. For a few - their lives filed with so much - drowning in choices to make - unable to sort through them - lost - with out a paddle - drowning in the desert. Others - through the power of prayer - easily cruising through the desert sands of their mind - floating on the waves of the presence of Christ in their lives - emerging - refreshed - invigorated at the time spent in solitude. Washed ashore - into the arms of Jesus - peaceful - filled with joy - their time in the desert - bringing clarity of thought - swimming in God's love. If you have not entered the desert this Lent - you still have time - Jesus is waiting - you will not drown - He is your life saver.