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?