It could feel
Like you are nowhere

For 40 minutes
For 40 days
40 years, perhaps.

One thing is certain;
At first
You will believe
you’re lost.

If you’re lucky
Loneliness and despair
Will tap you on the shoulder
Reminding you
Of their faithful presence.

Part of you
Will tell you
’This is the worst place’.
Part of you
Will know
Beyond thought
That this is where
You need to be;
In the middle
Of now+here

Now+here has much to offer you.
You have much to discover.
It has so much to say
About the sharp shadow
That follows you
About all you avoid
All you turn to
And how you keep missing
Your true self
Waiting for you
In the wilderness

In the desert
Fear and trembling
Are normal.
Those tales you heard
Of the strong
Losing their battles here;
They’re all true.
You’re supposed to lose.
You must surrender to the sun
And the wind
And endless horizon.

Only then
When you’re at your end
And you’ve fallen to embrace
Your sandy shadow
And faithful desert companions;
Only then
Will the manna fall,
And the waters part
And the promise open up to you.

Only then
Will you know
How kind
And generous
A friend
Nowhere really is

by David Tensen
Jan 2020

#poem #poetry #wilderness #darknight

Background: I’ve been doing some study and teaching around liminality and the role of ‘midbar’ (Hebrew) desert/ wilderness seasons, the pit and grave, and the exile; all expressions of liminal (in-between) themes in biblical narrative. So precious, painful (at first) and an underrated part of our sanctification, in my opinion. For me, this poem echoes some of those moments.

photo cred: @katekerdi