Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series
Twenty-Seven. That’s how many times I’ve changed where I laid my head at night since I moved out of my Indiana apartment in May. Twenty-seven times I’ve picked up my toothbrush and put it back in its travel bag. Twenty-seven times I’ve put my head on a pillow, knowing that in day or week, I would be in another place.
Earlier this week, I settled my head on my own pillow, with my very own white striped pillow case, pulled the matching deep red comforter that I made back in my Colorado days up to my chin and breathed into new space: one that is mine for this next season. Unpacking in my new home, my mind flies back over these twenty-seven beds, and the places and days spent between them. It’s been a summer overflowing with rich experiences, learning, growth, travel, and change.
I’m reaching for a “concluding blog post.” One where I tie everything together, tracing those threads back through each location and tie up each theme in a nice crisp bow.
Nope. Not going to happen. And it wouldn’t be honest to the pilgrimage to try. The tangled, interconnected, still processing, led by a Force greater than the journey, energy resists being wrapped up and captured in a few pithy phrases.
But here’s what I can tell you.
I can tell you that I have lived these months of being a pilgrim fully.
I can tell you that the Divine had themes woven throughout my travels that changed me.
I can tell you than I laughed more than usual and that I’d like to continue that trend.
I can tell you that nature and I reconnected and have taken up our old love affair with a passionate commitment.
I can tell you how there are beautiful and fascinating people everywhere and potential for human connection around every corner.
I can tell you that coming home to a place that has been a grounding space for years is sweeter than ever.
I can tell you that new friends who you swap stories with fresh energy are gifts, and that old friends who know your story because they were there are blessings.
I can tell you about my time in various Swedenborgian communities and how connecting with my faith heritages has strengthened and formed my future ministry.
I can tell you how exploring a city and finding out of the way coffee shops and secret gardens is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. Especially days when you do it with two good friends and you climb a tree and visit while swinging your legs in the air and having deep theological conversations.
I can tell you that the life of a nomadic pilgrim is humbling when you’re relying on others for your “homes.” And how I know that my experience of this is incredibly privileged.
I can tell you about that privilege and how I always knew where I would sleep and I thought a lot about the people who cannot say that. Especially one day when I was sick in the UK and we had to move and all I wanted to do was be home in my own bed and I began reflecting on those who are sick and don’t have their own bed, until my prof told me that I really didn’t have to be doing theological reflection all the time and to have some more vitamin C and water.
I can tell you than I see God in more places now than I used to, especially as I hunt for God’s image in the faces of people.
I can tell you that I trust the Divine leading more now than I did three months ago and that doors keep opening and my trust and delight is growing.
I can tell you about how I’ve stood and preached when there were no words to say and that God gave the words.
I can tell you that the curved balls came, as they always do, and that with them always came the breath, or laughter, or strength, or help that was needed.
I can tell you that some of the best conversations happen over a drink in the evenings after the meetings, or workshop, or class.
I can tell you where the yarn shops are in a number of cities in the US and UK. And about how I met the sheep that gave me this yarn.
I can tell you how long it takes to fly and drive and walk all sorts of places. And I can brag that my sense of direction has improved with dedicated attention.
I could wax on and on, worthy of commercial or two, about the virtue of my Sherpani carry-on suitcase, my Haiku purse, my Jambu shoes and my NorthFace jacket, four items that accompanied me without exception throughout all my travels. And I could tell you about the women who tried to steal my shoes at camp because they loved them so much.
And I can tell you about how I found home in the few moments of intention as I entered each space, and how my mini art and spiritual practice kit was pullout out all over the world and how I kept crocheting that prayer shawl.
And I can tell you about how I appreciate and fought my commitment to blog throughout the trip and how much your comments and accompaniment brought companionship and joy.
So that’s what I can tell you today. And the steps of the pilgrim continue.
It’s about seeing beauty and humanity everywhere, feeling the Divine infused in all things, and showing up to what is in front of us. Here’s to the continued pilgrimage called life.