In the summer of 2015, I spent four days on a solo vision fast in the Capitol Reef area of Utah. Preparing for an undertaking of that magnitude took the better part of six months from a logistical standpoint. However, in a sense, I had been preparing much longer. I had done some car camping and grew up in rural Alabama, but I had no idea about life in the desert, so I spent time researching. I downloaded four wilderness survival guides which I studied, started collecting gear, borrowing gear, buying gear. Ever now and then, well, most all the time the whispers of doubt would creep in–You’re crazy! There’s no way you can survive in the desert for four days with no food while pumping your own water. You get lost in a parking garage! What are you thinking…?

A quick call to my mother for reassurance did not help. “What the hell was I thinking?” I asked her. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I think you’ve lost your ever loving mind.”

I retorted, “Well, Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness–I’m just spending four.” Her quick reply, “Yeah, but he was the Son of God and you’re not.”

Obviously, I survived my time in the wilderness, and I learned valuable lessons about having the right gear. Valuable lessons about the power of community. Valuable lessons about facing my fears and learning to sit still.

As you all are “gearing up” to come to Duke, know that I am praying with and for you. The Holy Spirit has prepared a place for you here, and every little thing is gonna be all right.  I am looking forward to hearing your stories of adventure as you make the long or short trek to Durham, North Carolina. There is one thing I can guarantee you though, your life will never be the same. Safe travels and Godspeed on your journey.

Pastor Laura Wind–Duke Lutheran Campus Pastor

Leave a Comment