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Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Pearl of Great Price: Part III

Over the next several weeks, I pondered on the singularity of the events the night of the sandstorm.  What strange events they had been indeed.  How could it have been that I would have chanced upon such a marvellous person as I had?  And how had he bested the storm enough to have reached out in love and compassion toward me?  Surely, I thought, there must be a way to overcome as he had, to reach out and think not of yourself in the perilous times, to not take only, but to give.  Though I had encountered him but once, this man, this friend inspired me as a great mentor.  I hoped to God I would meet him again.

A word about survival in the desert:  if ever you should venture out as I did, remember that food and water are very scarce.  I know that sounds obvious, but you really don't grasp that concept until you have to go days without restocking your supplies.  It was about three weeks into my journey that I realized I would probably be without water for a few days; prior to that, small rivulets or streams had zig-zagged across the sparsely vegetated desert floor, providing for my thirst.  However, as I ventured farther and farther into the barrenness, the streams no longer flowed the direction I knew I needed to go and I found myself drawing solely upon the water I kept in reserve in my animal skin, which, I realized to my utter disappointment, was not entirely full.  How foolish I had been, when the water was plentiful, to not fill my skins with all the water I could carry!  I remember thinking to myself, "Well, the little streams will run along for another while, I'll be alright.  Besides, water is heavy!  why carry it when there is an abundance?"  Indeed I had played the fool.

One morning, about 4 weeks into my journey, I woke up to a terrible scene.  Wild pigs, apparently driven by thirst and starvation, had gotten into my belongings and had torn through the skins to lap up the precious water therein.  And what was more, they had eaten all my dried fruit and bread that was to have lasted for several more days.  All they left were a few tracks, already disappearing with the winds, and a scene of destruction.  (Truth be told, I wish I could have seen the pigs so I could have had a nice ham dinner!)

  The morning was hot--the waves of heat were already rising ominously off the sands, the sun searing my face as if to taunt me.  As my mind wrapped around the implications, I began to slip into despair.  There were no trees to be seen, no rivulets or streams.  Gratefully, I was able to calm myself enough to gather the rest of my belongings and head cautiously in the direction I needed to go; unfortunately, I couldn't shake the feelings of fear that filled my stomach instead of my breakfast.

By the end of the day, I knew I was dying.  My tongue felt like sandpaper in my mouth.  My eyes were itchy and weary.  I could pinch up my skin like bread dough, I was so dehydrated, and the gnawing, no, ripping hunger in my belly made it hard to even concentrate on walking.  I was alone, afraid, filled with despair and anger at my foolishness.  I rounded a mountainous sand dune, and, spying a rock, sought to rest for a moment, for whatever good it might do.  Night was coming on, so I set out the Stranger's lamp to dissuade any predators.  I sat slowly on the ground, and sobbed tearlessly--I had not even enough water in me for that.  As I closed my eyes in sheer despair, I imagined that I was sitting by a stream, carelessly dreaming of the life I had always imagined.  It was so comforting to just let go like that.  It was so real I could almost hear the babble of the brook.  I sunk into comfortable oblivion.

Then something remarkable occurred.  Through the blackness not only did I hear the gurgle of the brook, I could actually feel the water swirling around my head, in between my fingers, and under my body--it was too real to be a dream!  I awoke to find myself actually in the midst of a stream!  I looked around, and to my sheer amazement, the white-robed Stranger was sitting nearby.  He spoke not a word, just as before, but with that same love and care, he filled several skins with the water.  I sat up in the stream, unable to fully comprehend this miracle, and he filled a cup with the water and gave it to me.  I drained the cup thrice, and as I did so, I felt as though I should never thirst more.  All the pain and doubt and reservation was almost literally washed away, leaving me with that same uncanny peace and joy as before. 

He left me with filled bags with water and food to spare; more importantly, he once again saved my life.  As I drew daily on the water and the bread he gave me, to my astonishment, it never actually depleted.  As I drank the water he gave me, it was as a well that sprung up continually within me, filling me with peace and the assurance that I would never thirst again.

To be Continued...

Image of desert from: http://mrogren.wikispaces.com/file/view/drydesert.jpg/170286117/drydesert.jpg
Image of waterfall from: http://sagejourney.com/imagelib/sitebuilder/pictures/photos/stream.jpg

1 comment:

  1. i LOVE IT! this story just captures you, and keeps you guessing! absolutely amazing!



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