A couple of my friends are walking the Camino de Santiago, setting aside these weeks to step away from life’s noise and busyness and seek God in a more intentional way.
Though I can’t walk with them, in a small way I’m making my own pilgrimage as I follow in photos.
There are days of rain and days when the sky is still. . .
days when the invitation is to keep putting one foot in front of the other . . .
and moments of surprise when the light shimmers through stained glass in the tiniest of churches.
There are castles and huts and chapels perched in the most unlikely places.
And even, sometimes, an invitation to take off your shoes and rest.
At the moment, my pilgrimage is simpler, more familiar. I walk the same routes again and again, lay my head in the same bed each night. But still there are moments of encounter.
The poppies that have been bringing joy along my bike route for weeks have been joined by a mist of tiny yellow and white blossoms that makes my heart ache with the beauty.
A fellow traveller carrying his bed in bags asks if I know an appropriate place he can pee and I see again that we're all human, all equal, all fearfully and wonderfully made with the same basic needs and desires and beauty.
Instead of stained glass, the light shines, multicolored, through a glimpse of grace in the life of one with whom I sit and listen.
And as I make my own pilgrimage, seeing my own moments here in parallel with her photos, I notice this:
A pilgrimage is less about where we walk than Who we walk with and what we pay attention to.
And this: It all belongs. The rain keeps the grass green. The days of faithfully putting one foot in front of the other lead to the moments of stained-glass splendor, which shine more brightly for having walked the plainer section.
And it is beautiful.
Because no matter where we are, no matter what our path is like, we do not walk it alone.
As we make a pilgrimage of this life, seeking God in our days, we soon discover that God is right there beside us, walking with us through the rainy stretches and the calm and sunny ones—and that our lives have become roads He travels.
"And how blessed all those in whom you [,God,] live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion!"
(Psalm 84:5-7 The Message)
"I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going."
(Psalm 139:5 The Message)
"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God."
(1 Peter 1:17b The Message)
Want more? Here's a free course with practices to help anxiety shift from a barrier to one of the paths on which God walks into our lives. And here's one offering space to help you settle a little more deeply into God's gracious invitation to rest.
Photos by Karen Webber. Used with permission. (Thanks, Karen!)