Before you start shouting “spelling”, let me explain. The word “oases” is the plural for the word “oasis”. And just what is an oasis you might ask. Well, the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines oasis as “a fertile or green area in an arid region”.
I’m sure you can all conjure up an illustration from some book you have read or a movie you have seen at some time in your past. A vast stretch of yellow desert seeming never to end, unfolding under the scorching midday sun. A straggling line of over-burdened camels plodding through the heat, ridden by dark-skinned men in their long robes and traditional keffiyeh (headdresses). I feel thirsty just thinking about it.
Then, suddenly, there is a splash of vivid green. A half a dozen palm trees and a small patch of luxurious green surrounding a natural waterhole appear on the horizon. There is refreshment, rest, and restoration; a small sanctuary in that land of never-ending parched sand.
The first thirty five years of my life were very arid in many places for long stretches of time, especially the period from age twenty to thirty five. However, as I look back over the years from today’s vantage point, I can see that there were many oases along the way that literally saved my life and refreshed and restored my soul, even though I did not recognize them for what they were at the time.
I am sure if you look back over your life you will be able to recognize similar oases that helped you through the tough times of your journey. Sometimes these oases present themselves as people, special angels that cross your path and help to lighten the load of the burdens you are carrying at that time. People who listen to you, offer you their broad shoulders to cry on, and encourage you to become the person God intended you to be.
In other moments these oases may be in the form of a special place. Somewhere that is full of peace which offers you comfort and solace. A place that allows you to retreat from the world and all its distractions and difficulties. A sanctuary that offers you the opportunity to regroup, to relax, to find solutions. A moment in time to come home to yourself, to grieve, to cry, and then to find the strength to carry on.
I am grateful for the oases that God placed on my path. Those places of peace and restfulness, those people who supported and restored me and offered me a haven of of safety in the midst of trouble, danger, or difficulty. In some measure they have all lead me to the place of joy that is my life today.
Enough is enough is enough!! I have been wallowing. At least I think that’s what I’ve been doing. As some of my closest friends would say: get out of yourself; live in the solution, not the problem.
This morning one of my reflections was about joy. As I read it I realized that even though I have not been wandering around looking like a sour-puss, I have been shutting my soul off from the sunlight of the Spirit. So, right now, in this very moment, I have made a decision to kick the spiritual doldrums!
The sun is shining (which always helps – me at least), the sky is a brilliant blue, and even though its is pretty nippy (the thermometer on my sheltered lanai reads 46 degrees!!), the birds are swooping in my back yard, singing in the trees, and all is really very beautiful. I am grateful to be alive and feel blessed in so many ways.
I have a beautiful home filled with attractive furniture, interesting and unique items from around the world and, most important of all, it is bursting at the seams with love. My pantry and my refrigerator are both well stocked. There may be many things that I would like, but there is nothing that I need. I am truly a very blessed person.
So what gets me so spiritually low? Me and my ego:-(. I am a very normal (some people may dispute that!) and basic human being. I am flawed in a way that only human beings can be flawed. Despite many efforts to be different, I am full of human wants and, like a little two-year old, when I don’t get my way I have a tantrum.
No, I don’t lie down in the middle of the supermarket produce aisle and kick and scream till “Mommy wants to disappear into a hole in the floor”. My tantrum is much more sophisticated, much more mature, much more adult! I usually retreat into self-inflicted martyrdom. I glide through my days in an aura of subtle Oh-woe-is-me-ism, casting soulful looks at everyone who crosses my path.
I am also tempted to sulk a little. Oh not a real pouty obvious sulk, but sulking it is nonetheless. I take on a serious air and to all intents and purposes it seems as though I am bearing the weight of the world on my shoulders. At least that’s what I like to think I look like. Very melodramatic!!
So this morning I’ve made a decision. I’m shaking off the doldrums. I will no longer sulk (maturely or otherwise!). I am going to reflect the joy that the day is presenting to me right now. I refuse to be weighted down or repressed anymore, nor to subject others to the hideous grayness that I have been radiating out from my soul. I am a blessed child of God and will act accordingly. Perhaps this is a small measure of spiritual growth. Amen!!!