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From Quarantine to Swamp

Dorothea finally got outside after having been in her apartment for months because of the quarantine. She’s been waiting for this! She needed to escape!

Stuck with her two children and her husband, who had become cranky. She’s been feeling responsible for them all and for taking care of them. She needed to do something for herself and to get out on her own. She was feeling desperate!

She drove past some stores, and decided to get away from people, so she kept going. Went out of town and finally stopped at a rest stop. Sat briefly at the picnic table and decided she had to move. So she got up to walk.

Starting walking next to the road and wanted to be even more away from people driving by, so she turned into the woods and started to enjoy the trees. The smell of pine, the texture of bark, the soft ground beneath her feet – captivated her senses. Dorothea felt joy.

And kept walking. And walking. And after a long while, had been walking so much she did not yet even realize that she was lost. She no longer had no idea where she was.

Suddenly she noticed that she was surrounded by trees and by forest which all looked very much the same: she finally realized, she no longer knew where she was or how to get back.

Still glad to be outside, she decided to just keep going. She was trying to get back. Humidity was increasing. The ground was gradually becoming more wet.

Finally, it dawned on Dorothea: she had entered the edge of a swamp. And she was afraid. Panic set in as she knew she was not only lost, she was in danger. Breathing became fast, humidity turned into sweat so heavy it was hard to see. Wet earth pulled at her shoes with a sucking sound when she lifted her feet. And the water became deeper, deeper by quarter inches, but deeper.

Finally, she knew. She was in trouble. She could die here. She turned and turned; if she was lost before and disoriented, she was completely disoriented now.

There is something about disorientation that affects us deeply, strongly, and that is much more strongly than we ever expect.

She tried to catch her breath. To be still. To look and see through the trees something she could recognize. None of it worked, and despite sweating profusely, she was getting cold. It had been getting darker, and she had not noticed. The absence of light coming through the trees was like a dark, heavy wet blanket being thrown over her, and she felt it. Weighed down.

She tried again to orient, to be calm, to see something she could recognize. To slow down…even to just slow down her breathing. Still, none of this was working. The more she tried and failed, the more complete and widespread her panic was becoming.

Desperate, she prayed. Not with good focus, but with urgency and panic. Out loud, she prayed. She heard her voice of desperation…and suddenly realized she had spoken out loud. She was moving into a frenzy.

In the distance she almost heard something, she thought. So she stopped. Listened. She heard it again, a little better this time. She could almost tell that it was a voice. But it was too far away to hear well. Too soft to make out the sounds.

And she realized, suddenly, there were no sounds. It was silence and stillness speaking to her, directly, from inside of her…not from a distance. The delicate whisper-like word she was hearing was Silence and Stillness speaking to her, directly.

Without words out of the stillness she heard. “Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still” – if the stillness that was speaking so very directly to her were translated into words.

It was soft beyond soft, still beyond stillness. It was Stillness speaking to her without actual words – yet she knew in her deepest being that this was directed directly to her. A sense of accountability was already arising from within her as she began to hear.

“Stop. Still, be still. Stop and be still.”

And she stopped. Became still. Waited, expectantly.

She was realizing, it was coming to her, that she knew which way to turn. Which way to walk. And she had an inner confidence and fortitude that she did not have before. The fear and the lostness were authentic things that she pressed against and resisted now.

One step after another. She did not know where she was was going to, or what it would be like when she got there. Did not know how to get there. But the next step was always clear. Not the one after that, just the next step.

So she walked and walked, into the growing darkness, one step, then another and another step.

Then she saw it. Light! Kept going, almost trudging. She was exhausted. The deep tired that comes after great fear or having been lost and just keeping going on one step at a time.

She saw light coming from a window. Then a cabin. And she noticed that the ground wasn’t wet anymore.

She was home. She knew it. Deep in her bones she felt it and went almost to the door when an older woman stepped outside to greet her with a smile so warm you could bake cookies with it.

The lady took her inside, gave her clean, dry clothes. And she lay down and slept. She knew not for how long.

She woke in the morning light to the sounds of a crackling fire with fresh, dry wood – the fireplace.

The scent of cinnamon tea and something baked filled her nostrils. She was more hungry than a polite person could ever be, and it did not matter. She was given biscuits and tea and she just consumed them.

She told her story and was given answers to questions with no delay, she felt safe. She was surprised how safe she felt. She even told the nice lady this, how wonderfully safe and held she felt inside.

The grandmotherly lady, hearing Dorothea’s name, asked gently and warmly, “Do you know what your name means?” No…I never thought about it, Dorothea said.

The news about her name was surprising.

“Dorothy is a female given name. It comes from Greek Δωροθέα (Dōrothéa) meaning “God’s Gift”, from δῶρον (dōron), “gift”[1] + θεός (theós), “god”.[2] 

Although much less common, there are also male equivalents in English such as “Dory” from the Greek masculine Δωρόθεος (Dōrótheos).

Also, the given names Theodore and Theodora are derived from the same two Greek root words as Dorothy, albeit reversed in order. The name is variously abbreviated to “Dot”, “Dotty” and “Doll”.” From Wikipedia

Dorothea means, “God’s Gift”. Her life had purpose and meaning, and she has a destiny.

The lady told her, you followed Still Small Voice to get here; it was God who directed your steps, one by one. And you heard. And even in the middle of panic and huge fear, you followed…and came here. Of course our Lord takes you to a safe place.

I’ll not tell you more details of how she got home and to her family now, but I will tell you this, instead – which is far better. Without realizing it, she had stepped into a live experience of the Presence of God. She heard his voice, and she followed.

And she knew deep inside that she could always stop and be still and listen, when things were hard. And she would know deep within herself that she would be okay. She would always be okay. Safe. And even rescued, if such were needed.

A lesson you can have in your own heart and in the depths of your inner being. Just stop. Let go of everything else. Be still. Ask.

You will know. God’s help is yours and you have a destiny. So be glad. Even in these times. Especially in these times.

By David Burnet

I encourage people to learn and grow, including to minister more like Jesus as shown in Scripture.

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