So before we came to Wyoming, we lived in Denver. My chemistry husband was a packaging engineer at a famous Golden, Colorado-based brewery while I worked in the research and development department as an electrical engineer. When our children were born, the whole church-scene became important so we started volunteering in youth ministry working with junior high and senior high school teenagers… (a crazy-but-vitally-important ministry… you should try it!)
As stories go… one thing led to another led to another and another… and after about six years, we got a call from a priest in Wyoming… We are looking for a couple to do religious education and youth ministry here. Do you know anyone who might be interested? There’s a much longer version to all this but for now the final chapter… we moved to Wyoming! That was 15 years ago.
Great! All of our problems will be solved. We’re gonna go work for God in the vineyard of southwestern Wyoming. Life is gonna be peachy!
All along, I held the image of Wile E. Coyote chasing Roadrunner to the edge of the cliff/finding himself frozen in mid-air/ realizing he wasn’t on solid ground anymore/ looking back at Roadrunner and then waving goodbye as he fell to the bottom of the canyon. In every cartoon, Wile E. Coyote walked away only to appear unharmed in the next episode. Moving to Wyoming was like that… somehow I knew we were going to get up and walk again too. Do you see the juxtaposition of those two thoughts? It’s humorous to me now.
I never expected that God would turn up the heat as we moved through our years here. How foolish of me! That’s just what happened.
What I learn on the vision quest today… God asks me to keep raising the stakes. The desert mystics went into the wilderness to let God turn up the heat on them. They invited it! They knew that the desert is a school. To learn… to discover… to say yes… to be tested: to give your whole self without holding back.
What do we say yes to? To God… to tougher and tougher questions as time goes on. We don’t get better unless we go deeper. Life is a continuum.
The desert abbas (fathers) and ammas (mothers) would visit each other for spiritual direction and mentoring and used stories to share the wisdom that came from their solitude.
Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him: Abba, as much as I am able I practice a small rule, a little fasting, some prayer and meditation, and remain quiet and as much as possible I keep my thoughts clean. What else should I do?
Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven, and his fingers became like ten torches of flame and he said to him: If you wish, you can become all flame.
Question of the day: In this life, you either burn or rot. Why not become fire?