I put the trash out last night. Rather a ritual each Sunday evening. It seems like I just did it yesterday, but somewhere while I wasn't looking, the week passed by. There are moments like this when it dawns on me that life has been lived and I didn't even notice it. We journey through each day, each week, each month, living life as normal as we can make it.
But, sometimes something happens to cause us to wake up and notice our journey. It is often when we lose something or when we feel what is normal for us is threatened. Our senses stand on tip-toe and we are alert to the healing gifts of grace or the painful gifts of fear. We notice each moment. It becomes a vivid tattoo on our memories. This is when we know our daily journey has turned into a spiritual pilgrimages.
Pilgrimages begin when our longings are intensified. We long for something that we don't have. We long for something more. And that longing gets formed into a decision. We decide that we are going to act, to do something that leads to exploring our longing. Pilgrimages then become a reality when we leave home (or when home leaves us). Home is where the time slides by on the familiar patterns of familiarity. When we leave home, we are uncertain what is around the next corner, so our senses are heightened. We notice. We pay attention to our life.
Some pilgrimages are chosen. They begin when we decide to make a change. Some are foisted upon us by circumstances in our life that we can't control. They begin beside a fresh grave. Either way, they are spans of time in our journey of life when our eyes are opened to reality, when our heart feels more deeply, our souls expand in songs of lament or ecstasy, and our bodies are alive to the touch of earth. Don't let these moments go by without discovering greater insights into yourself and your relationship to the mystery of life itself. Soon enough the familiar will seduce you back into familiar days that seem to go by way too fast.