though really it was from a break that had lasted for hours,
and looked at the time. 11:57.
Sinking feeling inside. Another day gone.
I heard a soft knock, and a voice that I knew.
His voice. He asked, "won't you come to the desert?"
It's 11:57, I said. I must go to bed.
This rat race starts again in five hours.
I never get enough sleep. How about next week?
But he persisted. "Will you come with me?"
I opened the door and looked at him.
I asked, could you make all these chores disappear?
I would go with you, if you did. I just don't have time.
He simply looked back at me. I knew my words were foolish.
He said, "Order your tasks.
You will have the time you need."
"Won't you come to the desert with me?"
I said, you go every year. And every year I try
to go with you. Sometimes it feels good, I feel
like I've grown in my heart. This year, though,
as you see, I'm completely overwhelmed.
"It's time," he said. He opened his hand to me gently.
But, Lord, I said–looking back at my desk, or rather,
at the cave of papers and packets and trinkets and tools
where I struggle to pound out meaning, or rather,
where I find myself strangled by competing interests
and impossible schedules, caught between the fear
of failure and the hope of Time if only I can finish this one last thing.
Lord, I said, I don't know how I can add anything more.
But I reached for his hand, maybe out of habit.
"Daughter," he said. "Unburden yourself.
Come to the desert and forget these tangled complications
you have invented for yourself or accepted from a weary world.
Remember that before there was that mess behind you,
there was the desert. I am with you."
"Let us go together once more.
Your first steps are still imprinted in the sand.
But we will go beyond them now.
The desert is not easy. You will ask for a rest
many times every day.
But keep your hand in mine.
I will give you water, I will give you shade,
I will protect you from the predator,
I will keep watch for you at night.
Even if you grow weary, or forgetful,
and wander away, drawn by a voice on the wind,
I will find you, and we will go on again together.
Lean on my strength, and you'll become strong.
Now come, let us go into the desert
and make it a place of springs."