A wilderness defined is a solitary region, untilled rough country adapted only as pasture. So this is where we have been in all its imagery.
We are now, thanks be to our faithful God, on the far side of the wilderness. Yes, there has been a coming out. There are no naive thoughts about this being our last wilderness visit. Wilderness experiences are a part of pilgrimage. But with each visit new insights are gained, new strength given, new growth realized.
What was evidenced this time was the awareness of the constant presences of my Lord, the continual feeling of being wrapped securely in a downy soft prayer coverlet and the peace that it brought.
The early days were, for want of better words, frightening, horrific, awful. The Man Himself always experiences a form dementia after anesthesia. This time was beyond past experiences. There were exceedingly long days and longer nights where I stormed into the Father's Throne Room in very unseemly fashion, continually. Then, when I came to the place of saying 'if this is my portion the rest of my days, I will accept and trust You.' Following that came many hours of uninterrupted sleep. In the morning following, clarity of mind and a settled peace was given to Himself that was astounding.
The days since have been a sweet challenge, trying to find the right foods to delight and fatten one who in the best of times is no foodie, to somehow strengthen a very weak body. We are gaining on it. There has been - slowly by slowly - a return of strength and ounce by ounce a weight gain.
While still not yet behind the pulpit, week day mornings have been put in at the office for a week now. And yesterday, a visit to the Holey Land with his golfing chum. The report was that both played badly, but 9 holes were finished.
So what specific wilderness thoughts?
During the early days especially, the hymn that came and continued to stay was "The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want", the Scottish Psalter version. Truly the 23rd Psalm is everyone's earliest favorite. For it to return, after all these years in such tender force was precious. The promises of protection, provision, of a "future and a hope" truly carried me and companioned me through the rough country of that solitary region. So for now:
"Who is this who comes up from the wilderness
leaning upon her beloved?...
This is my beloved and this is my friend...
His banner over me is love...."
Always is has been, always it shall be.