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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Desert Experience

By Francis Raymund Gonzales

Parched, without water, without vivid life and vegetation. The desert is not a very inviting place at all. Similarly, crossing life's deserts is not that thrilling an experience. Some tell that when the life's desert is at hand, one can sense the hot wind and sand it sweeps through the face. That is, one can really feel a great depression ahead.

As a Filipino, I never experienced tracking a real deal desert that we often see in the Animal Planet or in the Wild Wild West movies. So I had the hard time comparing one life's setting to the other. But I had an idea in mind. Probably a life's desert is a situation in life when most actions cease and opportunities lessen down to the brink of utter desolation. Every time I see a pulubi (beggar) in the street, I would then instantly think that the poor soul is experiencing the worst desert experience ever. I identify the desert as the chaos and the ironies of human living.

I was downright wrong.

I had been tortured these last few days. I was pressed side by side by many priorities, especially in my schooling and in my religious obligations. In my personal desk are files of papers that must be done and passed in no time. The cellphone is in heat, the weather is hot, cold, then hot again, intermittently. I had been pushing uphill to bring all the falling parts of the clockwork in its place. I feel very helpless and I know no one is concerned with my plight. Everybody is busy on his own account in this school year's closing.

I felt the void in my heart those days. I felt that no matter how I kept on praying, the static need and reality of having things done a.s.a.p is dragging me downward to distress. It is a situation I never expect to meet. Perhaps, I said to myself, the same stress is being felt by all students who had the same burden of responsibilities. Now I know what the word "busy" means. Busy is a state when all things seems to fall out of its place and you have to catch them one by one without damaging them. You have no proper to schedule to follow and you can't. You must only trigger out actions according to your own initiative and ability. No one tells you to do so. It just instantly perks out everytime you see a life's essential going out of balance.

Important realization dawned within me on that. A desert experience is not the absence of work essentialities. It is not always nothingness. Desert experiences can really be very noisy, confusing and chaotic. And no one can really tell when the life desert experience will come. It just comes without a bugle blow. It's just there. And when it do come, you have to start reflexing all your system to be ready to the task that needs all of them. And another, no one can really measure the gravity of the desert experience but yourself. It is wrong for me to judge others as having those experiences without really feeling the true intensity of the experience. Still, the common denominator of all types of life deserts is the same: parched, without water and without vivid life.

I need to re-imbiberate, to recharge

In the midst of my struggles, I kept on praying. I know that the desert will save me somehow. Just as God accompanied his people through the desert, I know the Lord will still be there with me, providing me the strength that I need. He definitely doesn't give deserts too hard for us to cross. We only had to look upon him as our sole provider without grumbling. It is a blessing for me to realize such things amidst stress.

Now the desert is past, I look forward unto the future deserts with hope and confidence. Whatever happens, even to the point of losing courage, the Lord will still provide what I need. I am happy to know that he is there already beckoning to walk with him.

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her."
(Hosea 2:14)

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