Monday, January 27, 2014

Life is a Pilgrimage

I have been reading other people's stories of their pilgrimages on the Camino De Santiago trail in Spain. This past week (or so) that I have been self admittedly lost in my head, it occurred to me that each of us, whatever our circumstances can consider our life's journey a "pilgrimage."

We travel up many steep mountains and plummet down into valleys. We see many many sights along the way, many of which make the journey well worth the physical pain of getting there. We see things that are alarming, potential dangers, wild animals, cliffs, glaciers, rushing waters, but we forge on ahead on this pilgrimage, because we know if we keep walking, the sights will change. They will become beautiful and calm once again. Our serenity is always near....even when we don't necessarily feel it or see it. 

Getting to the mountain tops takes lots of strength, stamina, and putting one foot in front of the other, step by step no matter how hard it feels, lots of breathless climbing for periods of time. We stumble across exquisite things of beauty that take us by surprise.....a kind gesture, a kind word, a spiritual awakening with a loving and compassionate God, a moment of seeing someone put forth a Herculean effort to move forward...the courage takes our breath away.

We travel down into valleys on this journey, down down down.....we can feel our toes pounding into the front of our boots, the pain shooting up into our legs, slowing us down, distracting us from the beauty along the way. The lush vegetation begins to look like murky swamp land to us, making our legs feel heavy, we become afraid as we slodge on ahead that we won't be able to continue and to finish out our pilgrimage. Making us afraid, paralyzing us with fear, stopping us in our tracks from making any sort of progress...either up or down.

We keep walking though because we know that the only way out is through. We meet many lovely people along the way, who are traveling their own pilgrim journeys. Good people, who found themselves on this unexpected path. They share their hearts, their fears, their successes, a conquest here and there....they find that they are not traveling alone. There are many who can understand this particular pilgrimage. They learn together how to let go of expected outcomes, how to allow one another to travel at their own speed, in their own ways, and they learn most of all how to love unconditionally.

Despite the storms that often blow in, the tumultuous terrain, the unexpected obstacles that seem to pop up out of is a journey filled with beauty when we stop to look. The kind faces looking at back us through our tears, through our pain and anger. The lack of judgment because those same faces have traveled this same journey. They know how painful, infuriating, and scary it can be. We often encounter a power greater than ourselves for the very first time, who stands by ready to lead the way when we decide to step out of the way and allow Him His rightful place. There are many miracles along the pilgrimage if we quiet ourselves and watch for them. Our hearts change. They grow and fill up with peace and hope and acceptance when we travel this journey.

We are never alone.



Lori Cote said...

I have to tell you -- that paragraph about going into the valley teared me right up when I wasn't even expecting it -- but, wow, true. And as far as the blessings-- you're one of mine from this journey Ive been on -- that I thought was just only terrible. But you're right _ there were hidden treasures too - that we wouldn't have discovered Thank you for reminding me of them. There have been many of them,...big time.

Liz said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Lolly said...

You are a light to me on this journey of mine Annette. I thank God for you and for your ability to put your true beauty into words that help us along on our journeys.

Sheri Smith said...

I'm going to copy this post and place it on my mirror . I need to read it every day to remind myself that everyone is on their own journey and to keep silent and focus on mine . I needed to see this this morning as I have had quite a few moments of mean spiritedness as of late.
Thanks for your eloquent and beautiful reminder!

SoberMomWrites said...

The only way out is through. Simply brilliant.

What a lovely post and exactly what I needed today.

Thank you.


Signe said...

Loved this, Annette. A few years ago, my daughter and I watched a movie about that trail in Spain. I forget the name of the movie, but Martin Sheen was in it. After watching the movie, my daughter and I talked about going over there and walking that trail. Little did we know, as you have written here, that we would be forging and walking on our own trail. I would still like to plan a trip, though, just because. Thanks for sharing. :)

laine said...

I'm such a visual person. I can so relate to this journey.
I'd love to "borrow" this and share it with my family support group.

lulu said...

Beautiful visual. Can so relate to this.
I'd love to "borrow" this and share it with my support group.