It's been rough and rocky travelin'

The Hermitage

February 27, 2020

The day after Ash Wednesday


It’s amusing (and amazing) to me how music and poetry stimulate my meditations. What’s even more amusing is the wide spectrum of both that does it. For some time now I’ve been meditating on what the mystics call “my station in life.” Without all the fancy jargon, it's just asking, “What are you doing now, God?”


The last several days my thoughts have been about rhythm…


  • The rhythm of daily life

  • The rhythm of prayer

  • And the rhythm of life in general.


The latest insight came from Spotify, listening to Willie Nelson’s “Me and Paul” in a 1971 album I’d never heard of. Hardly the place you’d expect to find deep theology, this one is filled with a lot of introspection.


Perhaps that's not so surprising after all...listen with your third ear to almost any genre and you’ll find profound truths stated in simple ways. I think God speaks through a multitude of ordinary things if we’re just attuned to His voice.


Back to Willie’s song...you're lucky I can't sing it to you, but the lyrics are:


“It's been rough and rocky travelin'

But I'm finally standin' upright on the ground

After takin' several readings

I'm surprised to find my mind's still fairly sound”


Yes, that’s been my life story since April 2013 when Andrea was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. But it’s 2020 and “I’m still standin’ upright on the ground.” And, with all the weird symptoms leading up to being diagnosed with Lyme disease last year, “I’m surprised to find my mind’s still fairly sound.”


Following Willie, there was the beautiful rendition of Ecclesiastes by Joan Collins, “For everything there is a season…” And then I read “Drifting” by Mary Oliver from her book “Devotions."


I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path wherever it was taking me, the earth roots beginning to stir. I didn’t intend to start thinking about God, it just happened. How God, or the gods, are invisible, quite understandable. But holiness is visible, entirely. It’s wonderful to walk along like that, thought not the usual intention to reach an answer but merely drifting….”

Oliver, Mary. Devotions (p. 25). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


And here I am, full circle… once again meditating on the meaning of this season of my life.


Which season? Summer? Winter? Spring? Fall?


No, the season of change. Amusingly, the only constant in life is change. For me it has three faces…

  • Growth

  • Dormancy

  • Decay

And so I’m pondering...which season am I in now?


My body shouts “Decay!” as I struggle to overcome illness and age.


My mind, confused as it is with brain fog, shouts, “Dormancy!!”


But even louder, sounds the still small voice that called Elijah into the light, whispering to my Spirit, “Growth.”


In the midst of fatigue, there is still this inner urge...the longing to be only in God’s presence, regardless of what deceit the world might be offering.


I know it means more change ahead--I just don’t know what kind. So...


I’m waiting on God. Helpless and defenseless without His Grace.


Maybe I will ponder this more the next time I'm sitting on the veranda listening to Willie and the Boys.


Till then,


Thanks for yondrin’ with me in my sacred space.



Subscribe to my Blog

1077 Glenwood Loop

Bulverde, Texas 78163

Email: coaching@richardcopeland.com

Phone: +1 (210) 665-5771

WhatsApp: 210-355-0570

© 2020 Richard Copeland

Contact me