Coddiwomple–“To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.” I had never heard this word until I ran across it a couple of days ago. It’s one of those words that immediately attracts attention. It sounds like you should know what it is—like a creature out of Star Wars or something. As it turns out, it’s totally unfamiliar (at least it was to me). As we head into a new year, it’s a good term to learn and hang onto.
In a sense, most of us coddiwomple a lot. There are many things in life that seem to be a vague destination. Still, our journey toward them is often less than purposeful. If we get there, great; if we don’t, so be it…
In a day or two, we will head into a new year. 2019 holds challenges, pitfalls, and maybe (at least for most of us) promise. We don’t know what it will bring with it. We just know it’s here and we have to (at the very least) plod through.
Meeting it Head On
Plodding through, however, is not coddiwompling—at least, not as best I can understand it. If we’re going to coddiwomple, the description of our journey will necessarily be more like a march or a venture. We might not know exactly where we’re headed, but we can set goals, create plan B’s, and meet life’s trials head on.
One of the great coddiwomplers of all time was a guy by the name of Abram (later to become Abraham). Out of the blue, God called on him to leave his homeland and go to a place, “I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1-9) That’s a bit like jumping into your car and flipping a coin each time you get to a fork in the road. You don’t know where you’ll end up, but you anticipate that it will be a good place (or an interesting one, you hope).
It Sounded Bad on Paper
For Abram, this was a big deal. He was wealthy. He had servants, cattle, grazing land, and wells. He pulled up stakes and took everyone (including his nephew Lot and his family) to a place that became known as the Promised Land. When you live in an area where there are lots of arid deserts, rocky soil, and rugged terrain, life can be quite uncertain. As the old saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t…” On paper, it sounds like a foolish move.
Nonetheless, Abram followed the voice of God on a simple promise of something better. If I had been there, I would have tried to sell him this bridge I own in Brooklyn. He must have seemed like one of those suckers who happens to be born every minute.
Abram became even more successful, happier, and more fulfilled because he coddiwompled. He didn’t know exactly where he was going, but he went there with a purpose. He didn’t let anything stop him. We need to head into 2019 like that. It’s the only way to fly.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]