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Merely a piece of Driftwood

Updated on August 27, 2014
Drifting | Source

I kept a piece of driftwood until one day ...

I kept a piece of driftwood on my dresser for many years. It wasn't large -- six inches long and between one and three inches wide at varying points. I'd found it on a beach when I was a teenager. Something about its shape appealed. It bent in the middle, like an elbow, narrowing to a smooth point at one end and wide jagged edges at the other. Whenever I dusted my dresser I polished that driftwood -- making it smoother, shinier and somehow just a little more precious.

That piece of driftwood stayed on my dresser for decades. Whenever I moved I packed it along with the jewellery boxes and photos that shared space with it. I thought I'd never let it go.

Yet one day I did.

During a stressful move I hadn't planned on, I tossed the driftwood into a waste basket. No longer able to recognize its value, it had become one more piece of stuff to contend with.

Years later the memory of that driftwood came to me. I was bemoaning my lack of focus, when my husband gently chided me. He said I lacked discipline and was drifting through the day.

Elusive Discipline

After retracting my defensive claws, I mulled over his assessment and reluctantly agreed. Indeed I did lack discipline and often allowed my attention to drift. Examples? When I write, I often keep the TV on and look away from the screen to take in the program's plot.

And when I hear the familiar ping of a fresh email's arrival into my inbox, I almost always give into temptation and peek at it.

The equation is simple: drifting = no discipline; not drifting = discipline. The solution is equally simple: avoid drifting.

As for my lost piece of driftwood, although it was pretty, it held no practical value. It wasn’t heavy enough for a paper weight, but it was pretty. Waves from a lake had fashioned a smooth and lovely-shaped piece of wood, yet one with no substance.

Presumably my driftwood was once part of a living tree, whose branches were fed by a deep root system. Perhaps a strong wind had blown a piece off, or maybe an animal brushed a twig from a branch. Whatever happened, my driftwood was cut off from its life force, left to dry out. Without moisture, it grew lighter. At the whim of the wind, it was washed into a lake, whose waves washed the wood up on to the beach where I found it.

How long it lay there I don't know. I only know that one day I walked by, noticed it, perceived its beauty, and decided it was worth the trouble of stooping down to hold it, pocket it and carry it home to treasure ... until the day that stress blinded me to its worth. That day I, like the wind, tossed it away.

Stooping down to pick me up

Like the driftwood that I found, then threw away, I become merely a piece of driftwood when I choose drifting over discipline. Tossed about by the waves of things that steal my attention, I'm blown hither and thither until I am spent. Exhausted I become a slave to the very waves which, in their own time, force me on to dry land where all I can do is wait.

Helpless and unable to move, I am dead, with no value except in the eyes of someone who might walk by, notice me, perceive my value, and decide I am special enough to warrant stooping down, picking up and carrying home.

Unlike the piece of driftwood I discarded in my human frailty, I have no fear of being tossed out by the one who made me. He will never forget why He chose me.

Ah the irony! I am deadwood, but of infinite value to Him, not because of anything I am or do, but because of who He is and who He created me to be.

Back in His arms, He grafts me to himself -- the tree whence I came. I am reborn and renourished as His living water flows through my veins.


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