Spiritually Adrift, Or Spiritually Driven?: Reflections on Grace

1 Oct

In 2002, I was corresponding with a dear friend of mine named Thom who was going through tough, uncertain times. His life circumstances made him feel spiritually adrift, and far from God. I wished to share some thoughts that might encourage him. At the time I had been reading selections from Dag Hammarskjold’s “Markings,” an inspiring collection of meditations, prayers, and poems from the pages of his journal, which was published posthumously. I ran across this poem of his called “Thus It Was.”


I am being driven forward
Into an unknown land.
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of expectation.
Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clear pure note
In the silence.

This wonderful meditation by Hammarskjold inspired me, in turn, to write and add the the following for Thom:


You and I (and everyone)
are being driven forward
into an unknown land.”
It is grace that drives us,
not simply some senseless
sense of desparation, loneliness,
or quest for meaning.

Grace is the wind,
that unseen force driving us
(although sometimes it feels
like we are being pulled)
ineluctably forward,
forward to Somewhere,
A Land we once knew
from Sometime, long ago.

We know deep down
that our topsy turvy world is true,
because when we listen,
we hear an echo that reverberates
from within the Silence.
It is the echo of Love.

* * * * *
Dag Hammarskjold was one of the spiritual and political giants of the twentieth century. He was an economist, diplomat, and author. A tireless champion of human rights, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. Like countless others, I have continued to be inspired and challenged over the last 35 years by the insights found in his book “Markings.” If you are not familiar with him, Wikipedia provides a good introduction. You will find in him a wonderful spiritual guide who drank deeply of the Gospel and the writings of the Christian mystics. Here is a link to get you started:


4 Responses to “Spiritually Adrift, Or Spiritually Driven?: Reflections on Grace”

  1. Gary Kitchin October 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Tom, I believe there is a reason that we experience certain things at certain times, and cross paths with certain people as well. I say that the reason for this is also Grace.

    • texastom46 October 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

      Gary — Some might call this synchronicity; others karma; some luck. For Christians, this would be Providence. As you said, though, it’s grace!

  2. Francesca October 2, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Really enjoyed the reading.I’ve never heard of this Hammarskjold, so thank you. Your writing is also inspiring.

    • texastom46 October 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

      Fran: glad you liked the post. More importantly, I’m happy that through it you were introduced to Dag Hammarskjold. I just ran across a wonderful tribute to Hammarskjold by Thom Hartmann ( http://www.thomhartmann.com/thom ), a progressive radio and TV commentator that I really respect. You can find his rather personal review of Hammarskjold’s book “Markings” here: http://blog.buzzflash.com/hartmann/10011
      Thom Hartmann apparently did the review earlier this summer in honor of what would have been Hammarskjold’s 100th birthday. I hope you and others take the time to check it out. There are several great stories and quotes recounted in Hartmann’s article. After this, perhaps you’ll even find yourself inspired to purchase the book “Markings,” or to check a copy out through your library. I guarantee that you’ll find yourself inspired by this man’s vision and spiritual wisdom.

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