When I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, “an explorer like Indiana Jones.” I am still captivated by the idea of the journey. For the most part my dreams of travel have been tempered by lack of time and money. But still, I yearn for the walk.
So far I have spent my Lent reading Spiritual Lessons Along the Camino as my Lenten devotional. The book includes 40 spiritual lessons complete with Scripture that the author learned from her pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I hope I can walk the Camino de Santiago some day.
Yesterday with my imagination aflame, I opened the drawer of my jewelry box seeking my baptismal shell pendant only to find it nestled in the crook of my Appalachian Trail wishbone. I hesitated, and then strung them together onto the same chain. I’ve always been one for symbolic jewelry. I bought the wishbone right before I took off on my 200 mile Appalachian trek and received the shell from my cousin on the night I was baptized. The shell is also the symbol of the Camino.
An international, month-and-a-half long pilgrimage is a difficult goal to possess when you are also the mother of a 4-month-old and a two-year-old, and your dream can not be anything more than something far off and unfeasible and barely glimmering on the distant horizon. I think that for now it will have to do to just live my life of base domesticity in the spirit of a pilgrim rather than setting off down an actual trail. I want to remember that my entire life should be a pilgrimage leading me closer to God.
What should being a domestic pilgrim look like?
1. Eliminate some of the noise. A pilgrim would spend the day walking in silence, open to the inspiration of God. To a certain extent I think it’s possible to do this every day. This Lent I have given up listening to the radio in the car. It’s hard to do. I used to go on drives just to listen to podcasts, but the silence had definitely not been empty.
2. Walk in conversation and expectation. Pray earnestly and expect God to communicate with me. Live in a spirit of “seeking”. Something I struggle with. Number one helps with this one! .
3. Be humble. Be small. Accept everything as coming from the hand of God. Give up thinking that I “deserve” anything better. Become more of a minimalist.
4. Local Pilgrimage. Embark on some local (driving distance) types of pilgrimages. I live near San Antonio, easy distance from some old Franciscan missions, San Fernando Cathedral, the National Shrine of the Little Flower, Oblate Grotto. I could attend a Latin Mass for the first time. I could visit the Mission of Divine Mercy. I could commit to going to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. Really, there are so many possibilities.
Thoughts? What am I missing?