Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To do anything less than be a pilgrim is to miss each day's opportunity

I captured this "impressionistic" image adjacent to the 7th tee on my morning walk with Scout. There was just enough light to reveal the pathway and I took the rough cell-phone picture posted here.

I thought about what had compelled me to take the picture. It's an ordinary enough scene - but I am drawn to roads, pathways, tracks and lanes. I like it when they meander into the distance in a series of distinct curves. I especially enjoy views where the road disappears, then reappears a little further along.

Then I thought about my first book. "GET REAL: a spiritual journey...". It's all about the path.

And the second volume is a guide-book for the road that leads to Christmas: "In My Heart I Carry A Star".... The star provided direction to the magi on their quest to find Jesus; constellations have been used for navigation since ancient history.

Now my new book, "The Unmaking of a Part Time Christian" originally used the sub-title "Pilgrim in Progress". The sub-title has gone, but the idea of pilgrimage remains and the phrase comes up again and again in the text.

This is evidently a theme that runs deep with me. It's the conviction behind my facebook status post this morning, "Today could be amazing." Because each time I wake up a new panorama of possibilities unfolds.

I remember hiking the Appalachian Trail (I walked the length of Virgina plus some over two months in 1976). Once in a while there would be a break in the trees and some stunning vista would emerge. Sometimes the view would be that of the pathway, winding into the woods. Other times it would involve a meadow, or a solid quarter-mile of rhododendrons in full bloom, or a lake, of maybe a panoramic sweep of the Shenandoah Valley.

Always, the outlook would be fresh, even if it was merely the few steps ahead before the trail made another turn.

Standing still? Not an option. Resting on my laurels? Not a great idea. Taking the freeway and bypassing all that struggle and challenge and satisfaction? Not on your life.

This is the "Life Examined". Sometimes there is time to pull out a camera and record the view; sometimes there are folk along the way who help me interpret the journey. When it is dark there are stars to point the way. "Shine like stars in the world. Hold fast to the word of life..." (Philippians 2:15-16)

But always, always, the journey offers the opportunity for progress and refreshment. It is our nature.

To do anything less than be a pilgrim is to miss each day's opportunity.

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