1Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing direction. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverised bones …

This little sandstorm has been following me around and almost eating me up. For weeks, I found myself constantly going into restrooms just to get away. I cool my head, calm my nerves, and then, look myself in the mirror. Kind of like a scene from a movie right? Yeah … I was thinking that, too. That who-am-I-look you give yourself after cooling your head and washing your face … and to make it even more cliche, add a little snap-out-of-it-face-slap right across the kisser. Winner. Oscar award. But seriously, no matter how cliche it sounds, it is real and it has been going on for weeks now. Almost everyday.

In literature it is the internal conflict our protagonists must go through before their big heroic victory. And of course I would like to think that we are all our own protagonists in our own lives, yes? Our internal conflicts have to deal with all our fears, issues, or whatever, when they all come rushing in and in the most untimely fashion — when all struggles within the self come to reveal themselves like gate crashers at your house party telling you it sucks. Wonderful. They creep in without you noticing. And when that happens, what can you do? They’re already there. They won’t go away.

In the sandstorm that we have built for ourselves, there’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. But there, you may just be able to find God.

Monday’s first reading was this: To the penitent, God provides a way back, He encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to Him … Turn again to the Most Hight … Stand firm in the way set before you, in prayer to the Most High God.

And in prayer, I have been … trying. But what comes to mind sometimes is this: a letter Mother Teresa wrote to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet in September of 1979, and it reads, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”

I have created a desert for myself … and I am trapped inside my own sandstorm. I’ve stepped right in, closed my eyes and plugged my ears so the sand doesn’t get in. Still, I walk step by step, in prayer.

1Kafka on the Shore. Haruki Murakami


6 thoughts on “Sandstorms

  1. My thoughts…
    There are 2 elements involved in sandstorm, drought and wind. For me, drought is from within while the wind is from the outside.
    Drought is spiritual dryness as experienced by Mother Teresa and likewise experienced by everyone at certain points in life. But like Mother Teresa, we don’t give up, we persevere, we keep praying…. and God in His mercy and in His perfect time, will fill us with rivers of water, living water that will refresh our parched soul.
    Wind… I guess that if you have enough water and “stout” enough, it won’t be able to move you…. and you won’t get blown away.
    Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on the topic – sandstorms.
    Nice one!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Tita Susan.. and yes, you are right. That is exactly it — the drought and the wind. The drought has been what has been happening lately, that spiritual dryness Mother Teresa wrote about.. and the wind has been coming from every direction too. Though I agree, everyone experiences it at certain points in life (comforting, too, to realize even a saint could go through it), and we don’t just give up, and keep on praying. : ) Thanks again for sharing. : )

  2. When I look back in my life, the sandstorms are the trials that get me to a new level of strength, wisdom and trust in God. I guess it is the pruning process. Painful, but necessary so we grow and become fruitful. These are opportunities to drop the non-essentials that weigh/confuse us and develop the areas that we choose to stand for. It is helpful to remember that we go through seasons in life, and the good thing about it is, when you’re in the middle of a sandstorm, at least you know the next season (usually an easier one) will soon come upon you. What is that they say…”the night is darkest just before dawn”. Hang in there Helen, this too will pass… ; )

    1. What you shared about your sandstorms reminded me of this line by the African American poet, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: “She tried to break the chain of sad associations that bound her to the mournful past; and so … her genius gathered strength from suffering, and wondrous power and brilliancy from the agony she hid within the desolate chambers of her soul … and turning, with an earnest and shattered spirit, to life’s duties and trials, she found a calmness and strength that she had only imagined in her dreams of poetry and song.” … It might be a tiny bit dramatic in contrast, but it’s all the same – opportunity (to grow) ‘in spite of’ adversity not ‘despite of’. Thank you for the reminder. : )

      “The night is darkest just before the dawn,” Harvey Dent said it in Dark Knight. Love that movie. ; )

  3. Yesterday’s gospel (Mk 10:46-52) brought your post to mind…when in zero-visibility sandstorms, “Take courage; Jesus is calling you!” add oil, fellow piscean dreamer 🙂

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