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Monday, October 04, 2010

My desert is flooding.

It's raining in my desert. Come to think of it, it rained for a large portion of last week in my desert and it's reportedly going to rain all this week too. One would think that all of this water would, by definition, disqualify my arid wasteland from it's "desert" status but one couldn't be more wronger. You see, (try to imagine Larry Fishburne's voice for this next part, i do) this: is a desert. of the surreal.

Tis not water this desert lacks but land. And if it keeps raining that will be less metaphor than material. The ocean is sometimes referred to as a desert. They share much in common. A wide featureless expanse where there is no succor or sustenance to maintain intelligent life. Intelligent life being here defined as: those who would not willingly go into a desert.

Biblically speaking, the desert is a place of testing and purification. Where everything one relies on in this life is stripped away and the soul is laid bare before God. Where the proud are humbled, the independent are made beggars, the active must be still and the distracted and disoriented are taught what is really, truly vital. There was a line from the Book of Eli. Solara asks Eli what life was like before the war made the world a literal desert. "People had more than they needed," he says wistfully. "We threw things away that men kill each other for now. We had no idea what was precious." Hostile and deadly, the desert is a place of silence. Where the only sound might be the wind, which, not coincidentally, is a favorite symbol for the Spirit of God.

The sea however is chaos. The sea is always changing, shifting, never solid. The sea is deep. There is all manner of mystery beneath. Only God can plunge it's depths. Only God can conceive it's vastness and it's boundary. There is no place for a man to stand. He must cling. He must remain in motion. He must fight to live in the maw of a beast that is actively, energetically trying to kill him. One may meditate in a boat on a calm day or steal a moment in the dark of an early morning but soon a wave will come and the struggle will resume. If the desert spawns visionary poems of prayer, with a weary, languid question mark if punctuated at all then the ocean is an exclamation point! A sharp cry is called for between breaths, between crests. One word sums up all and that word is HELP!

My desert is flooding. The pillars topple as the ground beneath heaves and drowns. Thrown from the ship of a steady job, a ship i had served since a cabin boy, i must cling to whatever work washes my way. That flostam can carry me far from home. Family are struck down or betray and those that remain can drag you down in their panic. Illness takes my strength. Disease, the comfort of my beloved. All that seems solid dissolves and i'm aware of a great, gaping depth beneath my kicking feet. What was it Peter saw when his faith wavered in the waves? What took his eyes from Jesus'?

Yea, though i tread in the trough of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. But i'm getting kinda nostalgic for land.

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