Cynthia: Essays

Feb 6 2014

Desert Waiting

The desert waits,
Ready for those who come
Who come obedient to the Spirit’s leading,
Or who are driven,
Because they will not come any other way.

The desert always waits,
Ready to let us know who we are –
The place of self-discovery.
And while we fear, and rightly,
The loneliness and emptiness and harshness,

We forget the angels,
Whom we cannot see for our blindness,
But who come when God decides
That we need their help
When we are ready for what they can give us. (Ruth Burgess)

There are so many Navajo poems and songs and chants I could use right now, as I think about my 3 month sabbatical, a Sabbath time away. Sabbath means doing something holy, and doing something you normally don’t do. Well, I normally don’t hang out in the Arizona desert with nothing to do. No one to call, no commute to make, since I will be right there, and the desert will be right out side my door, my window, and probably, it will be inside my room, on the floor, on my shoes, on my clothes.

But I chose this poem and not the others, as the time that is approaching is calling me into a holy mystery that I can’t fathom – a silence I have barely tasted, a wind I have experienced and felt its cautionary tale. It will be windy in April in Navajoland, in the high mesa lands of the reservation in Arizona. Where time and space flatten out and get brilliant in the mirage of daytime turquoise sunshine. Where the stars will fill an endless dark sky. Where I will plant seeds that are more ancient than the wheat used for fry-bread, and light a fire in a fire pit on the desert floor, fires that have been reserved for Natives, for Navajos, for the Dine’ The People.

I have been so privileged to be invited into this space and time and mirage, into chanting and dancing and fasting and sacrificing, of sheep sheering and spinning and lighting the Paschal candle in the darkness before dawn on Easter morning.

So on March 1, thanks to your generosity, I will be obedient to the Spirit’s leading.  I pray the angels will be there too. Pray for me.


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