I went to look for spring flowers in the desert and found tumbleweeds.
I went to look for a field of poppies at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and was prepared with low expectations. The website explained there were very few poppies popping up this year.
Nevertheless I persisted.
When your weather app looks like this….
Trust that there is going to be wind.
Truly, I have never experienced so much wind. Nevertheless I persisted.
I am engaged in a WONDERFUL 10 week, on-line class. It is a class administered by the Center for Action and Contemplation. The topic is Richard Rohr’s book, Immortal Diamond. Part of the homework is to respond to questions with an on-line discussion group. We have a TA who moderates our discussion. Our TA is Amber and she is the best.
Yesterday I wrote about the tumbleweeds in my response to the questions:
How do you define the will of God? — There are several paths I could venture down to answer this question. Like Debbie mentions, I see God’s will as a parent wanting the best for their child. I can see that the way we parent or the ways we were parented probably influence how we define the will of God.
I am tempted to answer this question the way that a decade of church participation has trained me to answer this question. The answer that tells me being divorced is not God’s will. The answer that tells me if the church is doing God’s will, God will provide. But these are the easy answers for me.
I’m sitting here staring at my computer screen, because I think the answer is “I cannot define the will of God.” God is infinite. God is mischief and surprise. God is the alpha and the omega. I am drawn to Thomas Merton’s line, “And the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.”
How do you discern the will of God in your life? Is it a flash of insight, a process or something entirely different? — yes. It’s all of these things. I strive to do contemplative prayer, which I hope puts me in a receptive state to be ready to discern. I probably go with my gut most often. I pay attention to details. I may over estimate signals and messages…and this probably has taken me out of God’s will.
Here is a story from this week I want to put down into words. (Sharing in this context is like journaling for me. I journal better when I have an audience.). Since beginning the process of divorce in October 2015 I have been in two sort-of relationships which I hoped would lead to love. All three (including ex-husband) men I love even though they seem to struggle with emotional maturity. I want to know God’s will so badly as I engage with each of these men. I would do whatever God told me. This week I went on a pilgrimage to look for desert flowers. The flowers were very sparse, but the wind was wild. I became fascinated with the tumbleweeds. I sat in a vast, vast open space and did 20 minutes of centering prayer. After that I looked around and it seemed like I made eye contact with a tumbleweed. That tumbleweed, in the vast area, blew right past my knee and touched it. I turned again in the same direction and another tumbleweed brushed by my knee. It was unusual. It’s not that there was a sea of tumbleweeds. I sat for a few more minutes and just as I was getting ready to move from that spot, a third tumbleweed grazed my leg. I just started to cry to/with God. I felt like God was with me. I felt like God was trying to touch me with the tumbleweeds. 3 men, 3 tumbleweeds, trinity, ….I don’t know what God’s will is other than I keep knowing over and over and over again that God is saying, “I am here with you.” And maybe that it simply God’s will….for us to know God is with us.
This morning I awoke and saw this response from one of my classmates:
I send this slightly hesitantly as it might be projection or it might be total nonsense! But for what it’s worth (and in case it was a whisper from God) when I read you say you went on a pilgrimage to look for desert flowers I thought “for now God just wants her for himself/it’s time for her to just be”. And then as I read on I was amazed by the three tumbleweeds as it was kind of saying what I felt. Bit spooky when I don’t know, and was just gently reading your post!
I am reading through the book of Proverbs. Wisdom. Yesterday I read The Message version of Proverbs 2….
They’ll keep you from making wrong turns,
or following the bad directions
Of those who are lost themselves
and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
These losers who make a game of evil
and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
Traveling paths that go nowhere,
wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.
I love tumbleweeds. If you see me, let me show you the videos I took of them blowing across the vast expanse.
This is a long post…sorry, one more tumbleweed story.
As I walked along I noticed there was a ditch and many of the tumbleweeds were getting stuck in the ditches. It made me sad. I came upon this spot and I felt the stuck tumbleweeds were asking me to set them free.
I picked a couple up out of the ditch and let the wind carry them on.