Why I can’t stop staring | Psalm 23

I’ve never been here
though I know it exists
somewhere beyond
my power to make it happen
a table is ready and waiting
in the presence of my enemies
an oasis in the Sahara
awaits my arrival with
more than enough oil
to anoint my head and
water to quench my thirst

I’ve been thinking about Psalm 23 this week. Especially the part about the faithful shepherd preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I usually focus on the part about my enemies (not necessarily the Shepherd’s enemies).

This time I’m thinking about the table. Maybe it’s like the oasis pictured above, Guelta d’Archei, in the Sahara Desert in Chad. If you’d like to see more photos, click on the link.

This remarkable permanent pool of water is in one of the driest places on earth, hidden and shaded beneath giant towers of sandstone. Its immediate eco-system includes a reliable source of water that serves as a convenient outhouse for camels. Green algae feasts on black dung deposited by camels, creating black water. Fish thrive in this environment by eating the algae which seems to enjoy a kind of eternal life, thanks to the camels. And then there are Nile crocodiles that love the algae-hungry fish!

What could be more inviting than this reliable table in what seems a God-forsaken desert? I can’t stop staring. Perhaps what looks strange and forbidding in my life is actually a table set by my shepherd. All I have to do is show up.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies….

©Elouise Renich Fraser,18 August 2018
Photos found at amusingplanet.com