Let’s Water the Dryness we’ve Become
August 2000 I wrote an article titled “The Wilderness Experience” which describes the conditions that confront each of us as we journey within the spiritual life. Today, as the world’s intolerable situations appear to be out of control it challenges our discernment between right or wrong, allegiance to democracy or socialism, or the distinction of God or Satanic attractions.
There is no doubt as humans we are easily distracted from what we know is correct living if our early training consisted of respect for authority regarding the police, our teachers, and the priests of our parish church.
However, things have changed and the dictates of respect for what is the correct attitude we once adhered to have become a source of assuming the articles of New-age philosophies and the opinions of self-indulging prophets who are certain to lead us away from God and our own understanding of holiness within ourselves.
My past article dealt with three difficulties that anyone can experience as they are seeking which direction to journey on if the understanding of righteousness makes any sense. I found that there is a silent existence that lies within each of us, and to some it lies so deep within our persona waiting to be surfaced, it cannot find the way out of the darkness.
The essence of these conditions persist in clouding the path to finding an opening throughout our quest for meaning within the purpose we seem to want but are not able as to where to begin.
These conditions include Emptiness, Loneliness, and Dryness. These become the wilderness of our souls and to each condition there is only one way to move on once we understand the meaning of its existence.
First of all, it is necessary to realize the existence of God even when all we seem to feel is a loss of his concern for each one. Take a moment to analyze the condition and find within those monsters of our psychosis the good that is just around the corner.
I call this the wilderness or emptying of ourselves to allow God to enter our souls. It can be the trying of times since we were not meant to be alone. Yet, to let the Lord come into our soul, we must, even for a short time become void of unnecessary clutter. The soul will now feel alone. Even when other people surround us, we’ll still be alone in our feelings and innermost thoughts. No one else can enter this state . It is ours to cherish and live.
An unquenchable thirst will arise within us that water will not satisfy. Only the presence of God’s gentle touch and care can refresh our soul. Our thirst can often be found within ourselves. The desert isn’t miles away or only for someone unfortunate to be stranded there. It lies within and is a good place to look for God.
Thomas Merton said, “We do not go into the desert to escape people, but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing to do with them, but to find the way to do them the most good.” “The truest solitude is not something outside you, not an absence of people or of sound around you; it is an abyss opening in the center of your own soul.”
Enter into the Wilderness; There is a need to retreat into the desert which resides within each of us. A certain irony exists for us if we wish to find some connection to holiness that always seems to elude us. Many saints, mystics, and contemplatives have known for centuries regarding this journey. It is called “A period of Dryness.” You must want this, or it becomes an exercise in futility.
Emptiness, the same Merton refers to, but even more. You must make room for the Lord to fill your soul with his presence.
Loneliness, many saints have spoken of the phenomenon within their lives as a necessary component to find the closeness of God. There alone will we realize it is God we were looking for all the while.
Dryness, how often we have suffered the loss of something close to us leaving a taste of sand or a dry mouth without being satisfied within our internal desert. The only way to satisfy this dryness is to allow ourselves to be filled with the grace of God which alone will refresh that dryness.
Without God in this upside down world our spiritual journey will indeed become empty, lonely and dry. Symptomatic of the loss not of physical attributes but the misplacing of the only way to God’s heart.
Much of the above are excerpts from my article The Wilderness Experience.
Ralph B. Hathaway