Your Life | Road Trip or Pilgrimage?

Over the years I traveled a lot.  For a few years I logged over 100,000 miles in the air.   I like to travel and experience new things, cultures, foods, sights and most of all people.   A couple of years ago I found myself on an adventure in the month of March in the Arctic in the Northwest Territory of Canada, working with the Inuit people.  It was an amazing, new landscape; Ice Roads, Northern Lights, Dog Sledding, eating Caribou stew and so much more.   I will carry that experience in my heart and mind all my life.

Life can be full of moments of adventure.  I want to draw a distinction here between a road-trip and a pilgrimage.   We have a culture of road trip mentality for the most part.  We take a vacation, we want to rest, play, see the sights and have new experiences.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

A pilgrimage can be all those things but it has one element more.  We have the experiences but the adventure brings about a change in us.  We go intentionally into a moment, a place, an event with the knowledge that if I give myself to this it will yield a change in my heart, my thinking, how I see the world.

When I was in the Arctic, it was an adventure with several “bucket list” moments but what I remember most are the people I met and spent time with.  They told me their stories; their dreams and hopes, their fears and failures.  I remember Daniel and his playful manner.  I think of Bertha and Travis and how they were laboring for their family and community; they wanted to make a difference.

Yeah, I’ll never forget seeing the northern lights!  What a road-trip!  But the people and connections made it a pilgrimage and I walked away different, better and changed.

How are you living moments with intention, connection and discover why you are here?

Markers and Moments… Part 2

I remember vividly the first time we went to the beach and I saw the ocean.  I was 10 years old.  The vastness of the sea, the motion and cadence of the waves were mesmerizing.  It made and impression.

That is a marker in life; a moment that makes a lasting impression.  Ask a baby boomer and they will tell you where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated.  We all can remember that terrible moment 17 years ago when planes crashed into buildings  on a sunny Tuesday morning, September 11th 2001.

Tragedies, losses, failures along with joyful moments of weddings and births, successes and accomplishments are markers in life. They cause us to pause, to reflect and consider the breadth of all life is.

In these moments we are rarely alone or in a vacuum. Often the most memorable, the most sacred moments are one we shared with family and friends, with communities and even nations.  A good life is not measured in what we acquire or the cash in our accounts.  There is nothing wrong with setting goals and being productive and prosperous.  But a good life, a fruitful life is more.

I find by taking an inventory every so often of where I am, where I am going and who is with me is the best way to keep me focused and moving in the right direction.  Reflecting on markers and moments and the companions along the way is like a GPS recalculating my route to help me get where I am suppose to be.

We see this in the Abbey Life.  Being a part of a missional community helps us to refresh and renew, gain insight and perspective and prepare themselves for what is next.  The Abbey becomes a partner to help a person become the best they can be.

Markers and Moments…

As we travel, be it on an extended road trip or just through life, we experience markers and moments.

I like to drive.  It’s therapeutic for me. A few times a year I take a 10-12 hour road trip to the mountains in Western North Carolina. Along the way there are markers that let me know I am getting close to my destination.

The last hour of my journey takes me into higher elevations. The landscape and terrain change. Rolling hills become mountains.  I find myself thousands of feet above the almost sea level existence I have in Florida.

On this trip, I am joined by life-long friends, who in many ways are partners in my life. We encourage one another in conversation.  We share insights and thoughts about the current realities where we find ourselves in terms of vocations, family, goals, etc.  Their investment and interaction with me is a valuable treasure as I gain perspectives and see things differently.

These friends have shared markers and moments with me and I with them. We are together in our successes and failures, joys and sorrows; in all life is.  If I am the driver, they act as navigator and vice-versa as we move along in the journey of life.   We see these friendships / partnerships formed in the Abbey Life.

In the creation account in Genesis we find these words; It is not good for man to be alone. Thus God created a partner for the man Adam in the person of Eve.  We learn again that we are better together.

Reflection:  Consider the marker moments in your life (Graduations, Promotions, Marriage, Children, etc.)  Think about the people with whom you shared these moments.  Maybe give them a call or drop them a note – reconnect; you’ll be glad you did.