“Ugh, I miss it”.
This was the headline in the Washington Post that caught my attention last night. The story presents a combat veteran who today finds himself living in a trailer three miles from Rock Springs, Wyoming, where the wind blows and the landscape is lifeless. I have been there. My sister lives in this town of 23,000.
With military service behind him, this man has a difficult time returning to civilian life. He can’t keep a job, and he has little patience with people who have no idea of what he’s experienced. If he could, he would go back to war, not because he misses combat, but because he yearns for camaraderie and brotherhood; the intensity of the moment. He misses those with whom he shares a deep bond. He longs for those who understand.
As I read the article, I found myself identifying with this man in ways that surprised me. Deep feelings welled from within.
I too, feel myself withdrawing from those around me. Activities that used to bring happiness no longer do so. Areas of service, which brought significance and purpose, now feel like drudgery.
I feel like I’m letting so many down. I don’t like it, but I can’t change it. Faking normalcy doesn’t work either.
About the only thing that makes me happy is spending time with Valerie and the girls, though various mundane exercises such as cleaning the garage or sitting by the fire are comforting.
When we were in our desert experience, the moment by moment presence of God was tactile. Each day was a new day, and we knew that if He didn’t show up, we were finished.
I don’t miss cancer… How could I? But I do miss the intensity and urgency of that relationship with God.
I’ve learned the value of walking where there’s no water, no shade, no escape. It changed me, and for that I’m thankful.
What about you? Are you in a desert experience? Will you embrace it and face it with Him? In the surrender of your will to His, peace will replace fear.
When he was in the desert, hiding from King Saul, David said
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”
While I am no longer in the desert, I am on a path that is unfamiliar. It’s not one of my choosing. But I rest in the assurance that while I am isolated, I am not alone.