Snakes and songs in the lonely desert

I was sitting at a bus stop yesterday morning and an elderly lady began chatting with me. She told me about news that lots of snakes had been spotted by homeowners in our state.

I hate snakes. They’re slimy little creatures, and some of them are dangerous. It’s no wonder that Satan in the Garden of Eden took the form of a snake.

Snakes tend to sneak up on you too when you are by yourself. In that respect they are a zoomorphism for loneliness.

Loneliness is my biggest problem right now. It gnaws at me like a dog chewing on a bone. And it leads me into temptation.

I got off of social media two months ago because a woman who I have fallen in love with from afar announced on a post that she now has a boyfriend. That love kind of faded over the summer-you know, out of sight, out of mind.

Recently though I restarted my online presence. Now I see pictures of her and my heart aches.

Further, I have begun to flirt with a woman at work. She’s a good friend, but she is also beautiful. I’m smart enough to keep enough distance, but sometimes I fantasize about a relationship with her.

My marriage fell apart years ago, but for some reason, most likely religious, I cannot bring myself to divorce my wife. Even calling her my “wife” seems funny as we haven’t functioned as husband and wife for many, many moons.

As a result, I am caught between a rock and a hard place. My past has left me desolate, but I can’t move forward. All I have to look forward to is death at my age.

I sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind in my marriage. There’s no doubt about it. But I believe my actions have not deserved the treatment I have received from my wife.

I partly blame her for my loneliness.

In the final analysis, however, God has put me here. Oh, I surely put myself here, too. But I have enough faith in the awesomeness of God to understand that He has taken my sinful behavior and the conduct of my wife to fulfill His mysterious purposes.

I may never know why I am in my current situation. But all I have left is trust.

God gave Jeremiah an object lesson in trust at an ancient pottery barn to show Israel that He can do whatever He wants. The prophet observed the potter manipulating some clay in order to make a jar. But, as the biblical book that bears his name relates, Jeremiah saw that the potter tossed the clay and began again because it had not turned out as he had hoped. (Jeremiah 18)

The Bible says, “Then the Lord gave me this message: O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand’.”

The loneliness isn’t easy to deal with. I try to keep on in life, engage in this or that, and dismiss the seriousness of the events that led to it, but the loneliness doesn’t go away.

In the dramatic TV series “Breaking Bad”, chemistry teacher turned meth maker Walter White is tooling down the road in the desert, listening to and singing along to the hit by the band America called “A Horse with No Name.” The impact of this scene is humorous and moving at the same time.

Walter’s wife has told him that she is divorcing him because he is in the illegal drug business. In addition, she refuses to let him see his teenage son and newborn baby.

Yet, Walter got involved with meth because he was diagnosed with lung cancer and wanted to provide for his family before he died.  At the wheel of his car in the barren New Mexico countryside listening to oldies rock and roll, this middle aged man is seemingly trying to forget the whole thing.

“A Horse with No Name” is appropriate here because its author, Dewey Bunnell, was inspired to write the lyrics by recollections of his travels as a youth through the southwest desert. Further, the song was banned by some authorities because it presumably was a metaphor for drug use. (Source: Wikipedia.)

But it’s really a song about the lack of human love.

Bunnell writes,

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

Walter is indeed escaping the hurt and loneliness out there in the desert.

However, Walter learns he is not really alone. He gets pulled over by a cop because his windshield is badly cracked.

As the officer writes a ticket, Walter becomes increasingly agitated. He is trying to explain to the trooper that the windshield was busted by flying debris from two crashed airplanes, an even that everyone in the area is aware of. But the cop does not accept this as an excuse.

Walter finally flies off the handle and the cop pepper sprays him.  The teacher/drug dealer is taken to jail. Luckily for him, his DEA agent brother-in-law has some clout and gets him out of the pokey, but not before Walter apologizes to the policeman.

It took humility for Walter to do that. It also takes humility for us to accept God as our Creator (Erwin Lutzer).

When I am cornered by that snake Satan out in the desert, crushed by loneliness, acknowledging my Creator’s right to deal with me any way He pleases is a good first step to overcoming him.



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