Monday, June 05, 2006

The Desert Was Good Enough for Jesus

"If the desert was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me. "

This has been my frequently chanted mantra over the past year, as I have attempted to convince myself that moving from the beauty and temperate climate of Northern California to the desolate desert of Northeast Los Angeles County was a good thing.

I have told myself over and over again that living in a place where both the scenery and the weather leave much to be desired can only bring me closer to Christ. Isn't the desert where Christ emerged victorious after being tempted three times by the devil?

After nearly a year in our new home, I now have some insight into how awful that time must have been for Jesus. Being tempted by the devil must have been bad enough, but when you throw in a hostile physical environment characterized by sand, lack of vegetation, hot wind and oppressive dryness, it is all the more difficult to fight the good fight. These conditions can make even the holiest person, well, cranky.

So, I have tried to view our placement in the desert as a chance to be holier myself. If I can be happy and pleasant and kind in adverse physical conditions, all the better, right? Yet, even with this compelling argument, I still had some self-convincing to do.

Funny thing, though. As I drove home from my weekend visit to Northern California, I was actually happy to see the Joshua trees and the desert shrubbery. Don't get me wrong, I spent most of my weekend marveling over how lush and green everything was in my old hometown. But I also noted for the first time how close together the buildings and houses were, how narrow the streets. I have become accustomed to the space we have here, where we have land-o-plenty, and I like it!

I also like our new church, very much. And our nice, new grocery stores and mass retailers that make shopping for a large family so much easier. And our larger, newer house with a yard, that gives us all a little breathing room. And the kids' schools. And the proximity of family and old friends. And the wonderful new friends we are making. And the fact that Jay doesn't travel for his job the way he used to.

What do you know? It seems like there are a lot of things to like in this place. Things that matter much more than beautiful scenery and good weather.

As I pulled out of beautiful Marin County yesterday, I knew that it wasn't home anymore. We will always have good friends there and many happy memories. But our home is in the desert now. By choice, not necessity. Go figure!


Annie Bizzi said...

Isn't it interesting how we discover it is not so much where God takes you in life, but what you do when you get there. I admire your outlook on your "change of scenery" and may use it sooner than I think as we prepare to move North from Marin. Did somebody say, "Rain or bust"?

Anonymous said...

Almost 18 years in this desert and it will be very difficult to give up the space, the awesome sunsets, even the constant wind and tumbleweeds, but it will be especially difficult to give up the people. We have a joke in the family that too much green hurts our eyes, but I'll be putting on my shades and coping, I guess. Glad you like it here -- it grows on you!

Jen said...

As I have always said..."Home is where your family is." You could be in Timbuktu and it wouldn't/shoudn't matter. Take it from someone who never thought she would call Texas home. I will always and forever be a California Girl but my husband and kids are Texans.

Guess Who ? said...

Yeah, Whatever......

Of course, get the pool done and that BBQ smokin' and you won't be able to keep me away ! :)