"Wilderness is about acquiring wisdom and understanding.
About being broken open - and being open to what rushes into that space. 
And we must do the work - we must do the walk through the wilderness 
in order to acquire this wisdom, this understanding, this openness." 
~ from Alphabet of Faith by Sara Jewell 

This is one of my favourite essays in the book 
because it is a meaningful topic. 
We all know what it feels like to suddenly find ourselves
walking through a wilderness - 
a landscape devoid of our favourite things, our favourite people;
a landscape devoid of familiar landmarks, 
a landscape that is hostile and unwelcoming. 

Again, I mention the war in Ukraine. 
What a wilderness that is.
What a test of faith and hope. 
An unjust and unnecessary war.
A terrible waste of life and resources.
A terrible wasting of a country. 
(and I'm sure the same can be said about Syria).

We may not be able to relate to what it feels like to be living,
or barely surviving,
in a war-ravaged country,
but we understand how that devastation,
the loss of life,
of a way of life,
of the way they lived,
is a wilderness. 

We understand loss and grief and pain and suffering,
not knowing,
leaving without knowing if there will be any return. 

Our own experiences in wilderness
have given us wisdom and understanding,
and this creates empathy,
so as we stand at the edges of that wilderness of war,
it is our job 
to be broken open,
to let anger and peace flow into the space,
in order to do the work of the wilderness -
of becoming wise and understanding,
of becoming brave and welcoming - 
for those who may not have the heart for it
much longer. 

~ SJ 


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