Welcome to the wilderness.
Whether you were divinely led here, wandered here on your own, or ended up here because of someone else’s decisions, you are here.
Whether you love adventure, hate adventure, or like adventure only on your own terms, you are now in a new place with new expectations and probably no map.
Whether you have been here 40 years or 40 days or 40 minutes, your experiences here have already been life-altering.
Whether you will be here for another 40 minutes or 40 days or 40 years, you have a choice in how this experience changes and shapes you.
I know it looks desolate and barren. I know you are hungry and thirsty and tired. I know that you probably feel helpless and abandoned. I know it seems impossible to live here, let alone thrive here. I know you probably just want to get out of here and go home or at least back to the familiar.
But you’re here. And you’ll probably be here until you have processed and healed from what has come before and you’ll probably be here until you are sharpened and prepared for what is to come.
So rather than detest this place that you’re in, I’m asking you to give it a second glance.
I know it’s no field of wildflowers, but have you ever seen a bright yellow flower bloom like on that cactus over there?
I know there’s no rushing river but have you heard the way the rustling wind blows over the desert mountains at night?
I know it just looks like a lot of shades of brown but have you seen the spectacular array of colors that burst into the sky as the sun sets each evening?
And even though you look around and probably see no one, and even though you probably feel more alone than you ever have before, you’re not the only one here. In fact, there’s a lot of us out here.
The wilderness people. Some of us have been here many years and some of us are just getting acquainted with the place, but we are here.
And we all hope for the time we can move on to greener pastures and calmer waters and softer beds. But for now we are here.
So rather than each of us wander around the desert on our own, let’s do it together. Point out the brightness of each star to me on the nights that seem so dark they will swallow me whole. I’ll nudge you to the shelter of a rock on the days that are so hot they seem like they will suck the last bit of life out of you.
And someday we will find our ways through and out of this wilderness to the fertile plains and grand cities and beautiful coasts.
But let’s not wait for then to live and grow and thrive. Let’s make the most of the wilderness.