Monday 3rd June 2019
My decision a couple of years ago to start a monthly blog attached to my website was for two reasons—to try and nurture/retain an interest in my books from new and existing readers, especially in the time between book releases, and as a way of instilling some discipline into my life. I need deadlines and I do try to work to them, but every so often, such as this month, I miss one. I'm late with my blog, and while no one is going to punish me, I'm not very happy about it. I feel as if I've let a bit of June get away from me- as if I haven't put a period at the end of May.
I could make a list of excuses why I'm late—such as my brother and sister-in-law were visiting from the US for two weeks in mid-May, during which time I had 22 people from age 3 to 78 over for a BBQ at our house, I started a project scanning and organizing our 20,000+ photos, I helped hawk items no one wanted to keep or ultimately buy at my church's rummage sale...oh, and I've done a full outline and began writing Caution to the Wind, a new Breaking Camp Mystery. I'm very excited by this story—it takes place in Arizona, a state I've had the great pleasure of visiting several times.
I've been fortunate to have made quite a few 'road trips' in my life. I've always been attracted to journeys and see them as a way to learn about the world, although sometimes a journey was a way to escape an unpleasant situation. But I find myself now wanting my travels from one place to another to have a deeper meaning.
I've begun to explore 'pilgrimages'. I'd never thought much about pilgrimages before except I thought they weren't for me. When I was nine, I dressed up like a Pilgrim in a costume my mother made for a school play and then wore it for Halloween. Having visited a replica of The Mayflower, (which felt VERY small—and then you realized about 130 people were aboard!) and being a person who is not comfortable on ANY boat unless the shore is within an easy swim, I'm afraid I have to admit it would have been a matter of life or death before I'd have traveled on The Mayflower across the English Channel, much less the Atlantic.
My next acquaintance with 'pilgrimage' was at university when I took a course on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales—which I just loved. Along the way from Southwark Cathedral in London to Canterbury Cathedral, the pilgrims tell their tales, many bawdy, many hilarious. Chaucer wrote the prose/poem for fun—and it is. But once again, I never thought of a pilgrimage as something a person living today would undertake.
And then last month the minister of my church completed the St. James Way—a two week, 230k walking pilgrimage from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way she generously shared her journey with her congregation, which I found very inspiring. I began to do some homework on the whole idea of pilgrimage—I wanted to know why on earth someone today would undertake such a journey, when trains and autos could get you there so much faster.
From my research, in its simplest definition, pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place. It provides the space and time to leave behind our busy lives and 'walk it out'; time to reflect, pray, think. 'People also go on a pilgrimage when they are at a crossroads in their lives, when undergoing a change in their life's direction or relationships. Others may be in search of a deeper spirituality, healing and forgiveness'.*
As a person who needs, actually craves, space to think and reflect, I find myself very drawn to the idea of undertaking a pilgrimage. I also know I am a person who needs to spend some serious time with God. But before I can even consider a pilgrimage, I need to seriously lose some weight—and find a fix for some very sore feet. But I'm going to stay optimistic. Watch this space.
*from Pilgrims Way, Canterbury Cathedral