Rising up over Madison, filled with grief of all the leaving, gratitude for all we’ve been given here, I was flooded with green. Fields, lawns, tufts of trees. And I began to weep.
O Lord, we’re leaving Green for Desert. Trees for Sand.
And the phrase came to me: “Springs in the desert”.
I closed my eyes, heart full of glad wonder and the kind of disbelief that children might have if their parents ever gave them a surprise party just because or let them skip school just to tag along on some grown-up outing that’s beyond their comprehension, but fun nonetheless.
I opened my eyes to see the Madison lakes spread out beneath me.
“Springs in the desert”, it repeated. Not that Wisconsin was ever a desert. But it was “formless and void”. And by the Word it was made. And it is good. So very good. That same Word has promised to create something new now for us. Springs. In the Desert.
It’s not Green. But it sounds good to me.
From the beginning, the “leaving-cleaving” pattern of life has been ordained for our good, our wholeness, our joy. We human beings seem to think that we can just keep on gathering more and more, embracing everything we see. And we try. To fill the void. To become more. To fulfill some (false) notion that we can have it all and that we'll be something when we do. But without leaving we end up chronically dissatisfied, longing for more. Without leaving we are left with all the internal and external baggage of our past and our pride, unable to really embrace anything new because we've cushioned ourselves into a comfortable (or at least known) prison that distances us from all that's life-giving. It’s in the the letting go and turning away that we see what there is to live for and are free to embrace it.
On a piece of paper, list your recent losses, large and small. (Don't rush. As you sit with your list, you may see other losses you've been hesitant to face or simply in denial about.)
Allow yourself 5 minutes, if you dare, to feel the pain of those losses. Open your heart to God about your losses.
Ask God to walk with you through the leaving, to lead you through the turning away, and to give you hope for a life that is only possible if HE makes it happen.