Navy Chaplain George Littlethunder from Coweta, Oklahoma was on his fourth deployment to Iraq. What was interesting about Chaplain Littlethunder was his cheerful, fatherly and easy going approach to his ministry among the crew. It did not matter who he was around. Within a matter of, say 10 minutes, those who encountered the chaplain walked away feeling good about themselves and their circumstance.
On a particularly difficult afternoon for the ship’s Captain, getting away to see Chaplain Littlethunder was the best part of his afternoon away from the rigors of command—even if it was for about 20 minutes.
“Down in Oklahoma,” Chaplain LIttlethunder told the Captain, “some Native American people say that if you capture and cage a coyote, another coyote will come along and feed the captured on a poisoned piece of meat to put it out of its misery. Do you believe this to be so, Captain?”
“I don’t know anything at all about coyotes, their habits or really what they do insofar as their behavior. I’d say ‘no’ though,” responded the Captain.
“Well, this is what the old people tell us. But I sure know of a few people who poison themselves and others on a consistent, steady diet of laced Kool Aid that is poison. Kool Aid laced with Anger, Hatred, Jealousy, Self-doubt with a whole lot of Self-pity. They keep these poison locked up in themselves. Those people are so very good at giving this poison to others who willingly spread it to others they know or do not know.
“Do you think that they can be helped, chaplain?”
“Sometimes they can be helped. Sometimes not. The toughest are the ones who claim they’ve tried everything or the ones who blame others or God. The ones who blame others or God, I’ve found, refuse to take responsibility for what it is they’re doing. They have nowhere to turn to.”
“I’m curious, chaplain. What do you say to such people?”
“I generally say to them ’Stop trying’. Or stop looking for someone else to blame. Own up to you what you’ve done. They are great currents of love, forgiveness and healing flowing throughout this universe. You’re the hold-up. You’re blocking them with all of your gloom despair and arrogance (pride). Go home. Stay calm. Don’t do anything for a little bit of time. Get out of your own way. And most of all get out of God’s way. Then wait—and listen to God. God is just waiting in the wings to straighten out what you’ve messed up.”
“And does it work?”
“Actually, more often than you might think, Captain. And when they listen to what the Creator tells them, they run around telling people I straightened things out or made a difference in their lives. But you and I know that it isn’t about what I did but rather what they did with a whole lot of help from a much higher power!”