The metaphor of a wilderness journey for Lent has a lot of biblical resonance, of course. From the Israelites' "wilderness school" after slavery in Egypt to Jesus' 40 days before he launches his ministry, the rocky places outside the Holy Land's cities are the thin places where the spiritual realities take concrete form.
But really, almost any wilderness journey will do as a metaphor for why we need Lent. Those of us who take an occasional trip to wild places know that these places can be life-giving, but you wouldn't want to live there. They aren't particularly good places for perfectionists, because no matter how well you pack, once you arrive you nearly always find that you either forgot some essential item -- or that you really should have left a few more things behind. As one friend put it this week, "I like the idea of Lent, it's the execution of it that I struggle with." The inability to "do Lent" well can be an great excuse to not enter into the wilderness at all.
Such journeys aren't particularly good for "purpose-driven" people either, because an excessive focus on a goal is a sure way to miss one of the real lessons of wilderness: it's not about you. Wild places are there whether you enter them or not, and the weather, the flora and the fauna are going to do just fine without you, thank you very much. If you do go, and pay attention, however, you are opened up to a whole reality you miss the rest of the year.
In order to say, "one does not live by bread alone," we have to know that there IS a reality other than bread, other than the satisfying of our own insatiable hungers for recognition, security, accomplishment, or power. That realm is not about you. But it's very real. Time to enter in and see it.