nathanielkidd on 1219883190|%B %d
The length of August does well at concealing the fact, but I can now count on my hands the number of days we have remaining until we give up our last vestiges of stability and head off into the wild unknown.
It is a horizon over which we cannot see. And it is utterly frightening.
There are things we have left to do, and we’ll do our best to get them done. Most of them we will probably accomplish (especially the necessary ones), others will probably fall by the wayside. We’ve got a buffer of several days to take care of loose ends if something does happen to fall through the cracks, but at the pace things are moving, it hardly seems enough.
September 5. That’s it. We’re off.
I predict that the inward battle unfolding over the next several days will be the struggle between our well-honed, modern sensibilities and our pilgrim objectives. Somewhere, deep within, we have a drive to cling to securities. We want to ensure our safety and happiness through tangible means. Is there something I can buy that will protect me from the unseen dangers that may be ahead? Is there someone I can hire to tell me everything will be alright?
Yet beyond the horizon, none of it will matter. What we can take with us will fit in a couple of suitcases, and that is all.
To be a pilgrim is to embark upon the vulnerability of having your assurances swept away from you. To realize that two suitcases is both too much and too little. To drive across the world you know shakily, in a beat up automobile, to catch a plane to a world entirely foreign.
And then, in that place of confusion and instability, the pilgrim seeks to find the arms of God. God, who gives life, but also allows death. God, who is as kind as a Mother, but as cruel as the universe. God, who is seen in snatches, and most clearly by the flashes of lightening behind a lonely cross on a distant hill.
Jesus conquered death, but he also affirmed it. He clung to his cross all those excruciating steps he took to the place where they executed him. And he called out “Follow me.” So we embark on pilgrimage as an icon of death. We are left with only a few meager scraps to protect us against the cruelty of world—as assuredly fatal as the Cross of Christ.
But we trust, even in our fearful and faltering steps forward, that on the other side of death is Resurrection. That these first few steps into the unknown are only the beginning.