A Wilderness Morning
I’ve never practiced Lent before. This year, I wanted to.
I’ve always thought about it on the day of (or the day after) and then decided that I was too late.
I’ve been in the wilderness lately — in books, and in practice.
My friend Doug Peterson told me about The Daily Audio Bible a few years ago. I’ve grown to love it. It’s just a part of my morning practice: get up, make a cup of coffee, listen.
Brian — the guy who reads it — was talking about Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Their liberation. He said that people were so used to their slavery that the work, for them, was to go through the difficult process of discovering what it meant to live in the wilderness.
I’ve been reading/listening to Brueggemann lately. Here’s a great place to start (or — at least — where I started) if you’re not familiar with his work. He talks about how we’re all under Pharoah’s thumb — whether in our political or sociological or religious systems — and how learning to walk in the wilderness is difficult, and feels like anything other than safe or okay.
It’s funny how freedom can feel more frightening than a boot on your neck.
Anyway, I’ve been spending a bunch of time connecting with and helping different writers who are progressing in their craftsmanship lately, and a lot of them seem to be writing about their religious experience. I think I tend to attract that for all of the writing I’ve done about my own over the years.
It can definitely feel like God is gone. Or, like you’re too far gone to be found. Or, like you’re too far gone to find yourself.
Maybe that’s just what the wilderness feels like for a while.
But God is / you are never gone.