Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Desert: Where the Bodies are Buried

About every other episode, it seems, on the TV show CSI: Las Vegas the investigators discover a body in the desert outside the all-too-well-known "Sin City." My Lenten reflections on the desert have included a realization that the desert is where our spiritual "dead bodies" are buried also. No wonder we're afraid to go there!

This past week I've been going through quite a few old boxes in my garage, stored up over the years and moved from place to place unlooked at. In this most recent clean up I finally dealt with a number of boxes left over from my years in post-graduate study (1994-97). Turning all this over again and looking at it was a terrible heart-ache. I thought about all those years in grad school, my life during my separation and eventual divorce, my struggles around entering the Catholic Church and establishing my self in a new "non-church worker" identity.

I knew as soon as I opened the boxes why I had carried them around unopened for lo these many years. These boxes were full of pain. But I found that once I opened it all up and confronted it, the pain melted away. The pain and fear were in NOT dealing with my emotions and experiences, not the experiences themselves.

I think this Lent we owe it to ourselves to visit the desert... at least often enough to begin uncovering some of the dead bodies buried there.... dead bodies of unacknowledged fear, unfulfilled desires, unrealized promises and dreams.

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