Wisdom of Wilderness: The Call

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Laura here. Thanks for joining us in this discussion of Gerald G. May’s The Wisdom of Wilderness. It’s going to be wild. I say this tongue-in-cheek, of course, but this is May’s invitation to us--that through his words we may be encouraged in the willingness …to be led into our own wildernesses, there to be taught what we most need to know and to be healed where we most need it. Ironic how this call to the wild feels so…natural. Gerald May would not be surprised. He tells us, in the preface: …the primary meaning of wild is ‘natural’. In turn, natural comes from the Latin nasci, meaning ‘to be born’…Wilderness, then, is not only the nature you find outdoors. It can also refer to your own true Nature—the You that is closest to your birth. This inner wilderness is the untamed truth of who you really are.

And so we embark upon this journey into the wilderness with May as he seeks his natural self; hoping that in this, we too will learn something of our own nature. May begins his seeking with what he calls a passionate yearning. He recognizes this as a longing for God, his sehnsucht—that God-shaped hole that Pascal and Augustine spoke of. Sehnsucht. A German word with limited translation. My online dictionary simply defines it as, you guessed it: yearning. Yet, instead of dismissing this unquenchable yearning—simply living with the knowledge that nothing of this world will fill—May hears in it an invitation. Come closer to me. And so he does. What ensues is a love affair with nature that lasts until his death.

In this first chapter, The Call, May describes the intensity of his emotional reaction upon meeting the wilderness:'s a deep homecoming, welcoming feeling. I could swear the mountains are reaching out for me, as if they have palpable arms opening, guiding, ready to take me in...I've said Yes to a call, and I've been taken. I'm in love. Ah, yes. Didn't I tell you it was good? These words open me up to being taken by love again. And again, and again. How about you?

Some food for thought? **May hears this call to the wilderness during a season of losses. He says, I felt more free than ever, but as is so often the case with newborn freedom, it was deeply tinged with sadness. This makes me wonder about the things in our life that lead us to search for more. How do you see loss/grief in this light? **Have you listened to your wilderness this week? Care to share? Tell us what wisdom you have heard whispered on the wind.

Next week: Chapter Two: The Power of the Slowing Photo of forest by Ann Voskamp. Used with permission. Post by Laura Boggess.