Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Arrival

Written by: on November 9, 2020

The boat gently bumps into the shore, waking me from my slumber.  I sit up, the fog not as thick as it once was. A smile creeps on my face as I disembark onto the shore, seeing a rough path ahead of me. It isn’t easy going, but I find that it doesn’t bother me.

Something feels right about this path.  It’s unfamiliar, but it isn’t unsettling.

The fog that once acted as deterrent to the Journey now swirls around me, calling me, gently kissing my face, guiding me.  There are footprints along the path – some new, some old.  I find comfort knowing that I’m not the only one who has taken this route in the Journey and can’t help but wonder what their stories are.


What brought us here?

What continues to guide us along the path?

What are our desires, our dreams?

What did we lose to go on this Journey?

What did we gain?


The fog becomes thinner and thinner the further I go until I find myself in a meadow lit by sunlight.  The surface of a pond reflects the sun, sparkling like the clearest sapphire I’ve ever seen.  Flowers of every color dot the area, painting the ground with their beauty.

And, sitting at the pond’s edge, is a familiar figure in a gray cloak.

The Pilgrim looks over their shoulder and grins, beckoning me to join them at the edge.  I sit down and we sit in silence for a long moment.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” I say.

They chuckle.  “I had sense you would arrive here one day.”

“It took me a long time.”

The Pilgrim shakes their head. “A Pilgrim is never late, Expert. They arrive precisely where they’re supposed to be whenthey are meant to be there.”

I laugh. “Perhaps.”

We sit in silence again, soaking in the warmth of the sunlight. It’s a moment of serenity, one of rest and tranquility and beauty.

There is a moment of contentment, of knowing that this unfamiliar place is where I was supposed to be.

But also the realization that it wouldn’t last.

The Pilgrim gives me a knowing look before standing up.

“Where are you going?” I ask.

They shrug.  “I don’t know.”

“Is there a Destination the Pilgrim longs for?”

They pause, turning the question over in their mind.  “There is always a Destination, but there is always another that follows after.”

“So the Journey never ends?”

“Only when we stop dreaming.”

I stare at my reflection in the pond, seeing how much I’ve changed. I don’t recognize myself anymore; my clothing is torn and worn in place; my hair is unkempt. But there’s something I see that I haven’t seen in a long time.






I smile and stand, looking the Pilgrim in the eye.  “Shall we?”

They nod, a grin splitting their face.


Where are we going? We can only dream.

Will we always be together? Who can say.

Together, we leave the meadow, stepping back into the familiar unfamiliarity of the fog.

Together, we take the most important step.

Together, we continue the Journey.

About the Author

Dylan Branson

Small town Kentuckian living and learning in the big city of Hong Kong.

10 responses to “The Arrival”

  1. Greg Reich says:

    There is always a destination in mind when in a Pilgrim’s journey. I find that it is the clarity of the journey as described that is often vague. It is during these times that risk and caution are inner twined. How do you find a balance and navigate your way?

    • Dylan Branson says:

      I think for believers, this balance of caution and risk is following the leading of the Spirit. There are times for caution, and there are times for risk and we won’t know the full extent of our decisions and Journey until much later. In a word, “trust” and “humility” are the words that bring balance.

  2. Chris Pollock says:

    The Pilgrim (in the plural).

    “A nod, a grin splitting their face.” Wow. Awesome and eerie! Picturing the 3-in-1.

    And, ‘they’ address him as ‘Expert’. There’s something in the ‘It took me a long time’, that I’m trying to grasp. What is it in that, that causes ‘them’ to refer to him as not-a-pilgrim yet? Still, the Expert. It’s not about ‘being late’ necessarily as it is about acknowledging ‘not being on time’?

    Thanks for leaving me in wonder and suspense, yet again!

    • Dylan Branson says:

      The Journey continues ever on, my friend. Perhaps it comes in the form of our own self-identification; we see ourselves as the “Expert” until we’ve learned the humility of the Journey.

  3. Darcy Hansen says:

    Learning to abide in the here and now, in the Holy of each moment, brings a beautiful awareness of the simple and small, the things often overlooked and under appreciated. Fog that kisses the face, light sparkling on the water surface, flowers painting the ground, a familiar friend in an unfamiliar environment. I wonder if this isn’t the freedom and abundance Jesus came to give? The freedom to simply notice, appreciate, and step confidently onto the next path, accompanied by unexpected friends? Such goodness.

    • Dylan Branson says:

      One step at a time, one glance at a time, one pause at a time. When was the last time we stopped to truly breathe? To walk alongside our companions? To simply enjoy and be?

  4. Jer Swigart says:

    “A Pilgrim is never late, Expert. They arrive precisely where they’re supposed to be when they are meant to be there.”

    I wrote this week that the future is shaped by the leader’s ability to be awake and responsive to the present.

    Your line is here dove-tails with my sentiments. So liberating. Thanks, D. What if we could simply embrace that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be?

    • Dylan Branson says:

      I would imagine that we would finally find the sense of contentment we’ve been searching for. Knowing every step of the Journey is part of where we’re going and it has a purpose. We try to skip steps or take shortcuts for efficiency’s sake, but how much do we lose when this is the case? WHO do we miss along the way? WHAT do we miss along the way?

  5. John McLarty says:

    So much of your writings this semester have given context this season of life. The fog of uncertainty we’re navigating in a pandemic, extreme political divides, tension in society, etc., along with the stretching and deconstructing of ideas we’re experiencing in this program. The necessity of doing some things alone, but having community along the way. Speaking as one still decidedly engulfed in the fog, it’s assuring to know the opportunities for clarity are not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

  6. Shawn Cramer says:

    familiar unfamiliarity – nice. It reminds me of Taleb, where most risk assessment is backwards looking preparing for past unfamiliarities, which often does not provide the antifragility needed for what the future unknowns are – just that, unknown.

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