Anyone else know what it’s like to spend time in the desert? I’m not talking about a Sahara type desert, but, the kind of desert where you feel alone and challenged in long held thoughts and beliefs. Those who have spent time in the church might call it a “spiritual desert.” I have to be honest, I’ve been here for quite some time and I’m beginning to wonder if I am destined to wander for the remainder of my days.
Since the beginning of the year, I have not attended the church that I had come to consider home. So many people who attend that church still occupy a sweet place in my heart. But, something changed and we left. The Hubs and I have occasionally attended another church nearby. We have even met with the pastor to ask questions about the church and its’ membership. But, I’m not ready to sign on the dotted line. I even explained to the pastor that I no longer felt the pull or even desire to attend church as I had done without fail for the last decade of my life. It has surprised me how quickly I have gotten out of the Sunday morning habit. And, it’s been easier than I imagined letting go of cherished activities I once enjoyed.
Added to the spiritual ache is the personal physical pain that continues to plague the day-to-day. Procedure after procedure offers the promise of relief only to be replaced by dashed hope. You get through the day, allowing others to see the face you provide to them only to collapse when the day is done.
Regular church folks know that Jesus spent time in the desert as he prepared for his time of ministry. No doubt he felt alone and maybe even harbored thoughts that God had abandoned him. I’m certainly no Messiah in the making, but I understand the feeling of being alone. I understand reaching out to my Abba and hearing no response. I understand needing reassurance and receiving nothing but a cold shoulder. There is profound loneliness when a person feels disconnected from community, country and worst of all, disconnected from God.
This is not the first time I have traveled in the wilderness. If, once again, this solitude is intended to test my resolve, I’m in it for the long-haul. I have never been a quitter. I will keep asking questions. I will continue to wait for answers. I will search with my heart and soul for the direction to travel. It may be this new church or a path I cannot see yet. I don’t know. I will continue to talk, scream, yell, cry, swear and question all of Creation. In time the answers will come.
Until then, I dwell in the desert.