…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

The Parable of the Driftwood

Life Observations from a Day at the Beach

By Eric Chaffey


IMG_0108I’ve always had a great love of the sea. To some extent I suppose it’s genetic at least on my mother’s side of the family.Sometimes  it feels really good to get away for a few hours. Sometimes I even learn a few things about myself or life in general while walking on the beach. This was such an occasion. 

I’ve been having more than my usual amount of anxiety lately. I’ve always been an anxious person by nature and prone to panic attacks. I’ve had a few more of them lately. Some of them I can point to a specific incident and others I can’t. At any rate, there have been more of them lately. I’m often times reticent to take a tranquilizer except as a last resort. However both my physician and other wise and beloved people have pointed out to me I could save my self some grief by taking it much sooner instead of always trying to tough it out until I’m completely spent. In taking a break and trying to relax more, I spent a day recently at the coast.

IMG_0107As I was walking along the beach, I saw a lot of driftwood. That’s not terribly unusual considering this particular beach. One particular stick caught my attention. Turns out it was a very dried out piece of bamboo.  I picked it up and tossed it into the waves. I lost site of it and pretty much assumed it was gone.  When the next wave came in and receded, I glanced down and thought “Hmm that looks a little like the stick I just tossed out there.” I tossed it out again a little further. A rather substantial wave came along and swallowed it. This particular beach is known for rip tides and a very strong undertow so I was really surprised after I tossed it a second time and walked a few feet down the beach and it appeared again. I tossed it out a third time. It took a little longer to appear again, but it did. Three times, it was completely submerged and carried out a ways. But each time, it surfaced and came back. After the third time I retrieved it and brought it home and it’s now on my windowsill along with some shells and a few transformer insulators I’ve found over the years in antique stores.

IMG_0110I’ve thought a lot about this stick of driftwood since yesterday and it’s relevance to my life. Sometimes, I feel like I’m drowning and that the sea of life is going to swallow me. Whether it’s the stresses associated with being a gay Mormon, loneliness, financial stresses, anxiety, the risking of ones life on a regular basis getting around Sacramento or any number of things… Sometimes I do feel like a that reed tossed into the sea, submerged and encompassed about my waves over which I have very little power. But like the reed, somehow I manage to float and get washed up on the shore time after time. I know it may sound perhaps a bit cliché but truly God does move in mysterious ways. I may be a little battered and worse for wear at times, but His great love and mercy has rescued me time and again.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee O’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

(How Firm a Foundation vs. 4  John Ripon Hymns 1985)

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One Response to “The Parable of the Driftwood”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    Awesome parable, Eric. I’m glad you’re still here and keep coming back.

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