Happy Thanksgiving and greetings from Bahrain!! Today I am thankful for safety, family and my time in the desert.
Tuesday I ended my 2 week trip through Jordan and I must admit I was a bit sad to see my time there end. The people were lovely and hospitable with everyone we encountered saying “Welcome to Jordan” and serving us sugary tea until we were about to float away. We started our trip with 2 days in Aqaba on the Red Sea…camped and hiked with some local Bedouins in the Wadi Rum desert for 3 days…wandered through the ancient Nabataean ruins of Petra…floated and relaxed on the Dead Sea…imagined life in the Roman trading city of Jerash…smoked some shisha in the coffee shops of Amman…and picked up a few biblical highlights (The mountain where Moses viewed the promised land and the location on the Jordan river where Jesus was baptized)
)While all these sites were incredible in their own way…the highlight of my trip was the 3 days with Bedouin Directions in Wadi Rum. Over this past year I have been thinking a lot about the desert. How it is dry, desolate and very inhospitable to life…it makes survival very difficult. It is a place of extreme temperatures and most people don’t actually like to be in it without air conditioning or other methods of altering the climate. Christians often talk about “Desert Seasons” in their faith which typically describe a period of time when their patience is tested and God seems far away. My desert season is a bit different. It is a season where circumstances surrounding my life are difficult and seem to be more life taking than life giving. Waking up and “surviving” is a choice and there are some days without God’s grace it feels like an impossible one to make. But through all this God has felt closer to my heart than ever before and has provided in profound ways. That being said if I had my choice I would run out of this desert season as fast as possible.
I decided for my post-cancer trip I was going to get to know the desert better. I don’t naturally love it but I have had very little experience with it so…why not? It was interesting spending a few days with the Bedouins. They are a nomadic people who have spent 1000s of years living and surviving in the desert. And when you listen to them talk they PREFER the desert. They take every opportunity they get to bring their family out to the secluded camp. I asked Mehedi (the owner of the camp we were staying at) why they preferred the desert and he said:
- We feel safe and protected in the desert – I had never thought about the desert as a place of protection but he was right. We were free from the craziness of the city and felt completely safe.
- We are free from distractions…life is simple – Their lives revolved around food, tea, playing music, and sleeping. Not too bad.
- It is beautiful – Even though I am a Pacific Northwest girl and prefer the green mountains there was indeed a certain stark beauty to the sand and rock formations. And the stars were UNBELIEVABLE. Without any light noise or moon it was overwhelming how many stars there actually were in the sky. It made me feel profoundly small and completely loved at the same time. What a blessing.
Hmmm…there appears to be more to this desert than I originally thought. Maybe I will try to embrace this season as a time when God is protecting and providing for me rather than a place I just want to run away from.
Here are a few iphone photos…I have more on another camera that I haven’t been able to upload yet. 🙂