I love living close to the Gulf. Granted I have experienced a number of storms over the last twenty years. There is still something that draws me to the water's edge.
When I was in high school I read the book, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," by Richard Bach. In the book he writes, "Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly."
For a young man who really only knew what it was like to live on a farm, and in a community that was very close, but also sometimes suspicious of "outsiders," many of those that I grew up with desired to spread our wings and discover what really was over the next hillside.
The chapters following that initial "first flight," has shaped my view of the world, of people, and what I know of myself.
I wish that I could say that all was well, especially on days when the perfect sunrise meets the horizon, and all creation pauses to take in the view, but we know from our experiences that each of us belong to a greater creation. Knowing this, however, is where our wings of faith encounter hope.
I think of some of the storms that I have encountered since moving to the Houston area. They even have names like Allison, Rita, Ike and Harvey. I remember after a long night when Ike came onto shore, not ever entering the eye, but encountered the wall of the eye for hours.
We listened to the cries of squirrels in the dark night as trees were uprooted and the light from transformers exploding challenged the lightening, filling the sky with bright lights and colors I will remember the rest of my life.
The next morning it appeared that every tree had been stripped of folage, and for months neighbors seemed to have their homes covered in blue tarps, until each slowly returned to a new normal.
I do, however, remembered that first morning, and the sun overcoming the darkness, reminding us that there will always be a new day.
We forget that storms are a part of life, and even as one taking flight, we must remember what we have learned and hear the words, "Peace, be still."
I'm unsure if any of us ever truly forget our want to fly, even as I encounter those who are dying as a hospice chaplain, I still listen to those who speak of "taking flight," and of "soaring among the clouds."
I think I used to feel limited by the shoreline. It was the reminder to me that there will always be limits to the things I would like to do in life, but then I am reminded that it is the shoreline that protects me from the sea. It is God's way of creating boundaries, that are often filled with beauty, but also the reminder that we all are being protected from something.
The older I get I realize that some things are just simply meant to be enjoyed from where we currently are. It is God's way of telling us, "I have made you exactly as I had hoped. Do not limit yourself by the reflection in the sea, for even the sea cannot see what I do."
I'm thankful for the times we soar beyond, but I'm even more grateful to know that I will always be held in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.