True Wilderness

…Lent is supposed to be the time when we think of Jesus in the wilderness. And the wilderness belongs to us. It is always lurking somewhere as part of our experience, and there are times when it seems pretty near the whole of it. I’m not thinking now of people being ostracized, or without friends, or misunderstood, or banished in this way or that from some community or other. Objectively, as a matter of actual fact, these things happen to very few of us. Most people’s wilderness is inside them, not outside. Thinking of it outside is generally a trick we play upon ourselves – a trick to hide from us what we really are, not comfortingly wicked, but incapable, for the time being, of establishing communion. Our wilderness, then, is an inner isolation. It’s an absence of contact. It’s a sense of being alone – boringly alone, or saddeningly alone, or terrifyingly alone. Often we try to relieve it – understandably enough, God knows – by chatter, or gin, or religion, or sex, or possibly a combination of all four. The trouble is that these purple hearts can work their magic only for a very limited time, leaving us after one short hour or two exactly where we were before…

…From the story of the Son of Man realise what your Lent really means, and then the angels will minister to you as they did to him. In other words, you’ll find moments when giving for love’s sake really satisfies you, really makes you feel alive and in contact. And at such moments Christ’s glory is revealed, and we rejoice and be glad. We look at the travail of our soul and are satisfied. Lent, we discover, is Easter in disguise.

H A Williams, The True Wilderness, 1965


2 thoughts on “True Wilderness

  1. Harry Williams was a tower of strength at a critical time of my life. I read most of his published work, and I think it’s wonderful, especially True Wilderness. Thanks for the reminder.

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