today marks the six-month anniversary of the death of my husband. this has been a dry, parched period personally and professionally, but with the help of God, family and friends, i have found life in the desert. i move forward.
Do Dry Deserts Bring Growth? Can Writers Survive Drought?
I recall a recent, riveting Lenten message of my pastor. It was about time spent in spiritual deserts and a challenge to believe a desert can birth vigorous life. This made me think of the times I have felt like quitting in my writing quest. I read on my email loops of many who question the same. Writing is not an easy endeavor and most of us write because we must write, but the angst and disappointment is still there among the successes, joys and highlights.
We all know deserts are normally thought of as dry, parched and without life or growth. Why else did Jesus need angels to minister to Him when He sought a desert retreat immediately after His baptism? One specific, fallen angel encouraged Jesus to succumb to worldly delights while isolated in his barren environment, but Jesus determined time in the dry places would prepare Him for days ahead. Jesus saw green in His brownest hour. Can I, can you believe offers and contracts can follow the form rejections? Does our learning curve of honing our craft prepare us for the days ahead? I believe it does.
Pastor convinced me the crusty, arid desert, though nearly waterless, can be home to many species of living things, including even flowers. I questioned this at first, but he’s right. Desert plants and animals adapt to life in the desert, but plants like cacti, brittle bush, and the Joshua tree can be found. Animals are usually small, such as vipers, beetles, insects, or lizards, but they are certainly present.
Life is present in the wasteland. We can resurrect from our writer’s block.
I believe Pastor’s salient point was spiritually-dry times can bring abundant growth in our life. If, that is, we can adjust and adapt, like living things do in the desert. If we can, we often find, at our driest spiritual ebb, vigorous growth can surprise our feeble souls. It’s then the words of Isaiah 58:11 bring comfort: The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
We, as writers, may need to question our genre, our thoughts on publishing, and our dreams. Our talents.
Who hasn’t been in a sun-scorched situation at one time or another? Who hasn’t been rejected? If you haven’t, you aren’t doing much. Are you trudging through a desert right now? Kicking up nothing but sand? Do you crave a cold drought of water and release of turmoil? Thoughts of any vigorous life in your desert terrain are eclipsed by survival mode. All you desire is an oasis. You don’t even care the desert supports living things. No matter what pastor says.
No one escapes dry patches. Sun-scorched lands are part of life. We ache with loss of a spouse, a child, a parent. We fight depression, suffer financial chaos, feel alone and lonely. Our health falters. We accept we have gifts other than writing. We see no life in the desert. Green? No way.
But, closer observation reveals delicate flowers perched on the cactus, a little varmint who just burrowed under the sand. A green shoot here. A slinking viper there. For us, it might be a chance to blog here, a free-lance article there, a small publishing contract offered, a constructive critique group. Vigorous growth does abound. Visible only with the right eye. See it?
If we really take inventory and, indeed, look closer at our anything-but-ordinary life, there is evidence of growth. Remember the angel mechanic who stopped to help on the highway, the check that came just in time, the medical report showing no cancer, the child who called home? The bright sun that chose to rise today? That agent who became ours out of the blue, that contract we never dreamed of.
Oh, do all that’s necessary to sharpen that memory. Do. Embrace the spirited life parched deserts can create within, and happily declare ownership of your growth. See the new thing coming about.