“Following the Wrong God Home”: Thoughts on the New Year

Lately, I have been contemplating the gift of “time”, especially as it relates to personal change and growth. I admit to being a very impatient person, especially when I am experiencing stress, anxiety, or worry. I want God to answer my prayers in the way I want IMMEDIATELY. Now I fully acknowledge His plan is better than my own; but I struggle with the waiting and uncertainty “in the moment”. Despite my lack of faith and trust, God has never failed me, often going above and beyond anything I could ever ask for or even imagine. I’ve also learned that I am my own worst enemy and my outcomes are often less-than optimal when I get my way or rush to a quick decision without seeking God’s guidance. Over and over, God’s greatest blessings have been given when I take my hands off the reigns and simply follow His leading.

I love this poem by Stafford where he speaks to the risks in “following the wrong god home”, including “we may miss our star”. While I do not make New Year’s resolutions, I do find the new year a wonderful time for reflection and renewed commitment to purpose and priorities. For me, I strive to follow the right God home…..to the ultimate destination He has planned for me.

Happy New Year!


A Ritual to Read to Each Other

By William E. Stafford

If you don’t know the kind of person I am

and I don’t know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,

but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider—

lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford, “A Ritual to Read to Each Other” from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by William Stafford.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

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