Monday, October 05, 2009

How do you prepare for pilgrimage?

“Our souls rise up from our earth like Jacob waking from his dream and exclaiming “Truly God is in this place and I knew it not!” God becomes the only reality, in whom all other reality takes its proper place – and falls into insignificance.” Thomas Merton

Most days I want to pinch myself and ask, Is this my life? It is full and vibrant. Steady and (some would say) boring. I travel. I work. I rest. I eat and sleep and play. I experience ups and downs and get lost along the way. I go away and return again. I live in the light and dwell in the shadow. It is special and extraordinary and most often rather ordinary. Still...

Truly God is in this place. Surely I have awakened from a night – from a lifetime – of wrestling. I am so awake I can hardly believe it. The path of life beckons each day and I am excited. I am preparing to go on a pilgrimage to Ireland. I stop to realize, it is not about the destination. Life is a pilgrimage – a journey each day.

When I listen closely, I understand. I am awake and 'surely God is in this place and I knew it not.' Last week I went to Oklahoma City for a few days. I visited my childhood home and as I was preparing to leave, my friend said, “Now, onto the real adventure.” She meant Ireland, of course. Internally I felt a resounding “No!” Every day is an adventure. Sometimes we go more distant places and other times we don’t even leave home.

My trip to OKC was an exciting adventure. I loved it and I loved yesterday spent discovering my 'normal' surroundings... Getting up early knowing I could rest later in the day. What a gift to have a pilgrimage throughout an “ordinary” day. Not knowing what is around the next corner. A lovely meal – two actually – cooked by the side of the man I love. My daughter opening up and pouring out her frustrations – sharing her tears over a movie – laughing unabashedly. It is a gift witnessing the paradox that is a teenage woman. The day continued… Lying on the couch with a purring fluff-ball of a cat. Visiting an art gallery and weeping over the words of an artist. How can anyone say yesterday was not a pilgrimage – not a time of meaning?

I am looking forward to Ireland and gently preparing for my time there. Many have asked “why are you going?” and I find myself pondering, What do I want from my time in Ireland?

I want to place my toes in the cool morning dew – in the layers and layers of green rolling hills. I want to stand beside the ancient rocks and feel the breeze of the eternal wash over me. I want to stand on a cliff over the crashing sea and feel as if I could leap and take flight. I want to sit in a pub and listen to the strains of Irish song. I want to drink a pint or two or three and laugh until my side aches with friends I have not yet made and those I already adore. I want to sit in the quiet of a cathedral and listen to the silence. I want to drive in the country and get lost knowing I am only lost if I have let go of the hand of God. I want to leave room for surprise – lots of surprise!

I want to prepare, but I don’t want to schedule surprise out. Leaving room – making space. Surely God is in this place. Surely each day is a pilgrimage unto itself. How do you prepare for pilgrimage? Where will you journey today?

17 comments:

Brett said...

Wow! Your post is truly inspiring. I often feel that fire but have been without for a while. I can feel your connectedness. I can sense the stillness oozing from the ether of zeros and ones. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Great post Kayce......makes me anticipate more my next pilgrimage!! Next time you head to OKC let us know.....Lawton is only 70 miles west and you can come an play on the ladder in the library!!! Now wouldn't that be fun!!! Save Journey!! Would love to hear about it when you return! Love, Pamela

Kate Iredale said...

I love this post Kayce. You're so right...life is a sacred, exciting, adventurous, beautiful pilgrimage. Thanks for the reminder and may your journey bring you lovely moments of joy!

lucy said...

brett--good to hear from you. hope you take a little pilgrimage around nyc.

pamela--i actually flew into dallas and we drove to okc. i did check to see how far off the beaten path lawton was...thinking of you! it was a quick trip, but maybe next time. i'd love to play on the ladder!!!

kate -- always looking for those lovely moments of joy. they seem to come in the most unexpected ways! thanks for stopping by.

Tess said...

An adventure indeed, and your list of possibilities looks good to me!!

differenceayearmakes said...

I needed this reminder. I sooo needed this reminder.

Rebecca Johnson said...

I resonate (and experience) everything that you have said. I was thinking yesterday on a cool and gloomy day that it was a perfect day. Just as perfect as the blue sky/golden leaves/snow on mountain top days. Yes, Ireland is an adventure and a pilgrimage, going to Africa was an adventure and a pilgrimage. So is sitting in silence in my own room where I have sat for 15 years. And ultimately, CHOOSING to stay awake for all these moments in my life, is my most exciting journey.

Many, many blessings on your journey. (I can't tell you how many people that I have heard are going. Friends here in Alaska and friends on the blogosphere, and you will be there with them all!) My love and prayers go with you all.

Barbara said...

On your pilgrimage, always be ready for thin places. And, as Gene Shepherd used to say every night on the radio in NYC, keep your knees loose and your bags packed!

kigen said...

Merton was a hero to me long ago. As long as Lucy's heart is there too, how could she not find God and goodness in every place? Please share that awesome silence in the cathedral when you come home! Have fun!

lucy said...

hey, tess. so glad you like the list :-)

diff - i am always delighted by the little reminders both give and received!

beautiful words, rebecca. i agree that "choosing to stay awake" is the greatest adventure no matter where we do it! thank you for the love and prayers heading to ireland. i look forward to meeting some of our alaska buds as no doubt i will.

lucy said...

barbara- the "thin places" are one of the biggest draws for me. as to the "knees loose and bags packed"...hmmmm i'll have to ponder that one :-)

kigen - a piece of everyone's heart goes with me and will be there in the cathedral, too. i'm always willing to share with those who are willing to listen. peace.

kigen said...

Thanks Lucy, I do hear you! And glad a bit of my heart is in your knapsack! ((-:

Barbara said...

I have always taken that remarks about "knees and bags" to mean that we should be prepared as well as flexible.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

I think I have a lot of questions - OKC for example. We'll talk:)

xxoo

Anonymous said...

Kayce, May the road rise to meet you and may you have a wonder-filled time in Ireland. I look forward to hearing about it.
Shalom/Aloha, Laura (I will be in Hawaii while you're gone)

lucy said...

kigen--btw, i'm enjoying what i see at your new site :-)

barbara--thanks for the clarification...prepared and flexible are good things :-)

ss--talk we shall/did :-)

laura--aloha to you and yours. i typically prefer sunny climates, but for some unknown reason ireland is calling my name this time.

xoxo to all of you!

Abbey of the Arts said...

beautiful post lucy, thanks for these poetic words as I awaken another day in Vienna. My joys here have been the simplest, good food and strolling hand in hand with my beloved, breathing in the air of my ancestors. Can't wait to see you in Ireland and discover together some of the surprises in store for us. love you, C