A Desert Experience

This desolate land became for me a place of beauty.

A Desert Experience

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If you’ve ever spent any time in a desert, you know how unmerciful it can feel, with no water, no shade, no respite from the scorching heat. A spiritual desert can be like that, too—a testing place where God’s refreshing presence seems as elusive as a mirage. And yet, those forbidding deserts contain surprising seeds of life.

Three Wise Guides. I began discovering this in the non-desert setting of San Jose, in northern California. My husband, Ray, and I had moved there from our home in the south of the state—a job-related move made necessary by the changes affecting so many people in the publishing world.

For many years, Ray had been the chief financial officer for a metropolitan newspaper; that job disappeared when the paper was sold to another corporation. We were relieved when the company offered him a position at another paper in the Silicon Valley. It meant moving away from our adult children and our friends, but we settled easily into our new house, neighborhood, and parish.

In December of our third year there, we went on an Advent retreat at a local convent with gorgeous grounds—grassy knolls and mighty pine trees.…

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