Stay Grounded in Faith

November 16, 2017

The other day I went fly-fishing with a clergy colleague, Vern Collins, and a bishop with a reputation, Will Willimon. We went down to Boone Fork River to fish the waters surrounding Watauga County and found ourselves lost to the outside world. There was very little phone signal or connection to the realities outside of our conversations. But one conversation caught me off guard and made me think about our lives of faith.

“What do you do to keep yourself grounded?” Vern asked me, meaning no real harm in the question. I asked him what he meant. He said something along the lines that fishing and other outdoor activities made him feel connected to the world and to God.

I wish I could have had an answer for him. I said I loved “just hanging out,” but I know deep down that wasn’t the real answer. Will knew it and looked at me. Later on that day, the good bishop said that in all of the fray I needed to find that thing and those people who ground me to the point of keeping me sane in the midst of this thing called life.

I don’t know if that’s hard for you, but that’s incredibly hard for me. I have a tendency to say “yes” to everything and try to be everything for everybody. I forget to ground myself in the people and things (yes, even poodles) that mean the most to me. We can’t get through this life alone.

We simply and directly are not meant to be loners on the journey toward wholeness. Perhaps this week you could join me in working toward finding those things that connect you to the community. Whether it is at worship or your place of work or while you’re on holiday vacation, stay grounded in the God who has created you and the Spirit who continues to sustain you.

I will never forget that day on the river when Vern and Will called my bluff on what keeps me grounded. We caught four beautiful fish that day. But also it has the potential to be a turning point to where I can spend more quality time with loved ones and activities that bring me to the heart of God. That is a mission worth acting on. Let’s do this together. I hope you’ll join me in being grounded in faith and hope, in love and charity toward others and ourselves.

This post originally appeared in the Statesville Record, and was published in The Pulpit & the Paper: A Pastor’s Coming of Age in Newsprint by Robert W. Lee.

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