Journal/Meditation Reflection Excerpts
FOR MANY, THE DESERT IS THEIR DESTINY…..
Deuteronomy 2:14-15 (NIV)
“Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them. 15 The Lord’s hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp.”
Until a “generation” of the past bad habits, fears, doubts, insecurities and faithlessness have passed away; we cannot cross the valley of/into a new promise. We cannot bring our “old-selves” into a period, and time when the presence a “new-self” is required. The challenges and work of the future necessitate that our minds, hearts and hands are free from the burdens of the past. Regret and remorse are among the least useful of our many emotions; with revenge leading the list. The “desert” period we experienced in the past was the necessary classroom for our “promise period”. But also the message from God: “All who are with you (now), cannot go with you, into the future.” I can imagine that many in Israel did not take family and friends into the land of promise. There were many for whom their “best” destiny was to leave the bondage and suffering of Egypt, and live free wandering in the desert; and then there were those for whom the desert was an educational pause on their way to a promised land of greatness. Who in your circle of friends and family will only go as far as a “freedom” in the desert? Who will/can go further? And what is your final destination (which is the same as saying: who are you)? Perhaps much that hinders our personal development is our “clinging” to situations and people that keep us (with them) in the desert of unrealized dreams. It could be that we are people who are designated as “promise people”, but have found comfort, and camaraderie with the company of desert people. And why not, (the good news) desert people are so much more fun to be around. (And, the bad news) “desert people” won’t ever challenge you to be your best you, to go forward; because they are incapable of comprehending the concept of “challenge”. I understand why a friend once remarked: “If I ever decide to become an alcoholic, I am staying away from you, because you are the worst “enabler” in the world!” I have a wonderful “pact” with my very few friends; we don’t allow each other to “soak” in grief and despair; but we also challenge each other when one of us attempts to engage in “foolishness” and self-deception. If people are avoiding or rejecting your friendship, perhaps it is for a very good and useful (to you) reason; they don’t share your values or destination to greatness. I am presently reminded of how much my sister; brother and I are so much alike. I know “Stoicism” as a philosophy has fallen on hard times; but watching my sister behave so powerfully and inspiring in the face of what must be tremendous suffering (the death of a second child) is just amazing. When someone visits her she is ever so gracious and kind (as is our style) to not put on a “mourning” show for the guest; she is careful not to impose her suffering on the visitor; she even seems to take on the role of consoling them. It is just not our “style” to engage in “public grieving”; or to ask others to take responsibility for our sadness and misfortune. It is only when the two of us are alone that she will share her deep sad feelings of positive reflections, grateful memories; always, the good, the wonderful, the beautiful moments. This time reminds me of when my brother was dying in the hospital, and one day when I visited him the nurses mentioned to me at the desk that he is one of very few people who in his state was so positive and upbeat; I remember him telling me jokes and trying to cheer me up; when I came with the purpose of cheering him up. In serous adversity the “who” we really are, is revealed; our true character is revealed. What is impossible to escape is our true nature; what comes easy and natural to us. Who are we, really; is the primary question that should occupy the thoughts of all of us; less we act in a way that is counter to our calling, and misdirected efforts that leave us short of our own personal promised land. And knowing who we are will allow us to know who is a fellow traveler on our journey, and who is a detour and obstacle. The “who” we are, is the best and final revelation as to whether our final destination is the desert or the Promised Land. No promise land can be entered without passing through a “cleansing” desert land. Remove (perhaps a difficult and painful experience) everything, and everyone from the camp of your spirit that will prevent you from moving forward to your called promise; stop it, end it, eliminate all of it, right now.