John the Baptist
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
What did you go out to the desert to see?
What would pull someone from their everyday life of work and responsibilities and head out to the desert to listen to a man who ate locusts and dressed in clothes of camel’s hair? Maybe a certain amount of boredom, a dash of curiosity and a lot of hope? Hope that they would hear words that would inspire them, explain their life and give them a sense of purpose and direction. Those desires do not sound any different than what most of us are searching for today, over 2000 years later. Whether it’s paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to attend seminars by self-help gurus, or reading book after book, most of us are searching for meaning,direction or something to help get us out of bed each morning.
Over a year ago I started training in spiritual direction. My hope was that after I finished training I could offer people a space to talk one on one about their relationship with God with all its questions,frustrations and joy. As part of the training there were papers to write, books to read, classes to attend. I would read the required textbooks, and then read other books recommended by classmates or teachers, and on and on it went. Most days there were 3 books on my nightstand that were in different stages of completion. I loved it. I was also talking to my spiritual director once a month about my relationship with God. After months and months of maniacal reading I despondently called my director and said,”I’m never going to find all the answers in a book, am I? I want there to be a book that is going to explain away all my doubts and questions about life,God,and that doesn’t exist.”
“You’re right.” “Well this is highly disappointing,” I said with a laugh.
“What now?” she asked.
“I guess I keep reading, knowing that I’ll never have all my questions answered but I also have to do the internal work.”
Reading keeps me busy.It offers me a few insights so it feels like I’m building a relationship with God but what I need to do is put the book down,sit quietly and listen. And that is hard,and I don’t like hard. And it’s boring, and who needs boring when I have a smart phone, TV, and books.
I can understand that John was the messenger and Jesus performed miracles, and some of us can quote the Bible (which I can’t) for every occasion but until I find the time and discipline to be quiet and listen to the fine whispers from God all the knowledge I have is wasted.