Maybe it's my A.D.D. that motivated me half way through a trip out West to rush to the desert - far from the city, other people, highways and noise. Solitude is good for the soul. It must seem odd that the brown, dry ground is my favorite place considering my garden passion but it's connecting with God and sorting out feelings that calls me to this wild, weather beaten place. My mind is clear in the empty environment, taking away my distractibility. In the desert, there's happy memories of many years ago when life was different and stories were yet to be told. Now it is a healing place to let go of my heavy burdens until next time, hopefully just enjoying it's calm.
People who love the desert and understand it's power and beauty connect with each other in a unique way. Concentration is easy for me here-time standing still is normal and I lack a sense of it in the first place. Our daughter first told me about Salvation Mountain. Created by Leonard Knight in Niland, California, it was his life's work that pointed only to Jesus. Built out of only hay bales and donated paint, he shared his love for God and people with a heart felt monument in the middle of nowhere.
'Flowers in the desert was my first thought seeing it. Green leaves and gardens! The band Third Day has great clips from Salvation Mountain in the video "Revelation" which is moving. Check it out...
When we think of the desert, thoughts of dusty roads, lonliness, weather beaten ghost towns, challenging life or death survival stories and bone dry land come to mind. But, just as we see life struggle and survive in this rough place, there's a metaphor before us to encourage our spirits as we become one with the desert and gain strength for the journey. The desert is actually full of life, much of it unseen in the silence. Plants grow, nourish animal life, trees like the Joshua provide homes for birds and the old cactus even gives water.
A distracted mind can relax walking on a sandy path, imagining how few people have been here before. It's a wide open, empty place but every negative word we could use to describe it, the desert is the opposite-space not confinement, freedom not being boxed in-There's no levels of accomplishment or achievement, only life and death.
Minimalism is trending and the desert is the ultimate example. Once you feel yourself part of wild open spaces and dry, hot blue skies and nothing else, you have to look into yourself and get priorities straightened out, You must let go of sadness and resentment and anger and surrender your right to be feeling so disappointed and shocked. Leave it in the desert. It won't hurt anymore, without a life connected to it, the bad, sad feelings will eventually just blow away and you are free long after you have left.
Unless you decide to stay. That's the magic. Living in the desert with like minded wild ones, individualists
we may call them, we can continually put down our hurts and troubles and the vastness somehow changes them or they just blow away.
The biggest thought I had was Jesus was born in the desert. Rocky ground, lots of shades of brown and reds, not much wood but people lived and prospered and worshiped God there. The Bible is full of true stories of battles, births, deaths, love, commerce, relationships with God and His angles and profits- as they looked up at that black sky at night to behold the infinite God's creation to watch over them while they slept.
Things and places are not all they seem to be. Be aware and try new things, new places and pray there. Be introspective. For me, the warmth of the desert reminds me of my mother's warmth-her love, welcoming and servant heart, and now that I lost her 2 years ago from dementia, it means so much more to me today. You may be surprised what you find there too-perhaps even a calling to create something like Leonard Knight made-
to share your love with everyone who is seeking.