Why should we hold fast to a hope above
if our foundation here is not shaken?
And what comfort is it to cling to a promise
seek the anchor of our soul
if life’s ship is on smooth waters?
There seems no yearning for steady security
if nothing is causing imbalance.
And there’s no peace in His sanctuary
when there isn’t chaos outside its gates.

Out on 12-day wilderness trips
my dampened gear-shed sleeping bag
covered me in such relief
only because I knew the damp chill outside.
That first shower
draining my dusted second layer of skin
was a longed for, clean rain
finally satisfied
only because I had surrendered to
and cherished
the brown as a temporary part of me,
no more attempts to brush it off each day.
The final giving in
to greasy hair
licking peanut butter fingers
and sitting on the earth
was a relieving, satisfying discomfort.
If only I had submitted to it earlier
would my joy have taken sooner root?

I’m sure in the wilderness
Moses and the sojourners
had a moment of giving in too
accepted the indefinite
a comfortable level of disharmony
the crunchy tasteless bread
and camel suitemates.
At what point did the resisting
become more complicated than simply embracing?

When clay is soft enough on the wheel
having been pushed
and rolled
enough that it no longer has a say,
only then can the potter begin to form.
I’m sure the clay’s initial preference
is not to accept His Hand’s torment
nor is it human’s inherent delight
to sleep beside mosquito’s buzz
sit under a tarp
without food in solitude.
And even Jesus prayed
that this too would pass
yet chose to remain
far from comfort or clean
routine or support
He pressed in,
no resistance or question.

The Spirit’s presence abides
with the conscious decision to allow molding.
The holding on to Him
and letting go
of me.
The hands up submission
adapted vision
choosing the challenge
expectant for goodness.
Just as Jesus and Moses
and the clay and me
snug in my sand filled, bug spray covered
500 times re-used
oh so comfortable
sleeping bag.

Adrienne (Laniak) Mauney was a Compass participant who later worked as a Sherpa and support staff in the Adirondack Expedition Program. She is a wonderful artist and watercolored the drawing in this post. She now resides in San Francisco with her husband Nate.