May 27, 2019

Weekly Reflection – Walking Among the Dead Wood

Weekly Reflection – Walking Among the Dead Wood

“Looking down saw the presence of drift wood, question: why am I walking among dead wood?” This stanza should have us all thinking about disappointments.

With Guest writer, John E. Griffin-Atil

John Griffin-Atil is a United Methodist minister who lives in the Californian coastal town of Imperial Beach.  He has for some time been working against great odds to establish a neighborhood center for the homeless and needy. Earlier this week John posted the following on his Facebook page. I was struck by the way he so eloquently reframed his pain into hope (Why do you walk among the dead wood when the living is all around you?) Have you ever been disappointed, felt hopeless or desired something important that just didn’t seem to be happening? Then you will identify with this writing.

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen
chaplain@nationsu.edu

Walking Among the Dead Wood

a bit of my ramblings
if I might tell you,
during work on this new adventure
of the Neighborhood Center..
it came out
of nowhere…
hit a rough spot
hard moment today
stop you in your tracks
horrible, angry, confused stuff..
so the
best thing for me
going walking on beach
praying, seeking clarity of vision
at first, the ocean matched my mood
dreary, depressed, stabbed with sadness
but as I walked in my tears rushing my face
looking down saw the presence of drift wood
question: why am I walking among dead wood?
the pondering caught my attention; kept repeating.
then with the sound of the waves, declaration came
‘why am I walking among the dead wood,
when the living is actually all around me here.’
with more steps, among dead wood, the roar of the sea
vision of this new Neighborhood Center was coming clear
in the vision, I feel God has given, there is energy and life
but the vision emerges from the death of another entity
and try as I might, I can’t bring life to the dead
beyond my pay grade; only God’s doing
my calling is the follow the life force
to place my trust that God
is doing something
new and bold
for the transformation of this part of the world.

walking further, question become my proclamation,
I will not walk among the dead wood no more
rather I will trust where the wind and water
takes me from this place forward.
I will respect the dead
but my calling is with the living
so, I will put my energy and hope in the living.
still don’t know where the money will come from
needed to make this vision happen
but I know that ultimately is not from the dead
it is to be found among those who choose to live.
while God may not be finished with the dead
God is visible and moving and calling through the living
while my first footstep on the sand today was in tears
my last was taken in a renewed confidence
this is no small vision, not a ‘John’ dream
but is something much more…
this is a God-thing, a huge endeavor
that God will see through
it is that I happen to be here, right now.
from a dreary beach, my heart was warmed
and I almost can swear I heard the voice of God
speaking…
not something I say often
but it was clear as day:
‘why do you walk among the dead wood
when the living is all around you.’
to this I feel called
(fearing I had lost it,
called a close friend to talk it through.)
I have an assurance that God desires this
and somehow, some way God will provide.
oh, I almost forgot
when I stopped and retraced my steps back
almost to the end,
I realized that I didn’t see the dead wood
it must have been there
but to my eyes
it was gone.

((thank you for reading my rambling))

 

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen
chaplain@nationsu.edu
chaplainscorner.org

 

Read more reflections, Will it Always Be This Way?