Dark, deep amongst the trees, shadows linger. The sun shines in spotty patches in a leaf and lichen covered forest floor. Small undergrowth flourishes on the edges of the woods, and past that the undergrowth diminishes as leaf litter increases and sunlight becomes rarer. Branches weave together, limb reaching into the next tree’s crown and creating a canopied tapestry across the sky. Stand still, listen to the sounds of the trees moving in the breeze, leaves act as an organ for the woods as the song is sung of deep quiet and lulling silence. Moving through the woods requires patience for one or two, with a focus on where the travelers are going so that they do not become lost. Many who would attempt to move through would find the way difficult, as paths would be easily clogged and the way would be difficult.
In the wilderness, there is a voice calling – “Comfort, comfort my people.” It is the voice of a loved one, a familiar and safe voice ushering you forward. Tenderly speaking, a proclamation will be issued to the listeners – your” hard service has been completed; sins have been paid for, and received from the Lord’s hand double for our sins.” Oh, the dark forest where it is so hard to see, the wilderness where life itself is difficult and survival is the focus – we are called to take comfort, and make way in the wilderness.
Prepare for the Lord, put in a highway through that wilderness. Trees will be hewn to create a broadened path, allowing sunlight and starlight to stream through. “Valleys will be made more level, mountains and hills made low in the highway. Rough ground will become level and the rugged places will become a plain.”
In the wilderness of our mind, we must prepare a way for the Lord. We must meditate on the precepts that God gives us, carving out His words into our thought patterns. We must pray continually, creating a worn path between ourselves and our dear loved friend. We must weed out the undergrowth that will attempt to spring up when the trees are cleared. Requiring labor and discipline, we must continually seek God’s wisdom in identifying the weeds and removing them.
There will be some trees that will be stubborn, refusing to fall with almost all tries. Invite others in to help, to lend their strength. At times, the path may become muddy, slippery, or leading to unexpected places. But, our dear Father is at the other end, we must continue on. Weeds can show themselves and take over so quickly, posing as something beautiful and wholesome while they are slowly creeping out the path, leaving little briars embedded in all passersby.
Make a way in the wilderness, seeking out the comfort that is offered through the journey.