I’ve never participated in a pilgrimage, or at least not an official one.
This morning, I was reading about a pilgrimage that took place both yesterday and today. Despite the cold and snow near Chicago, thousands of observers made a pilgrimage to commemorate Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Pilgrimages are a human symbol of our desire to end up some place holy. To physically move from one place to another. Until today, I had never really considered that maybe I am on a pilgrimage daily.
This morning, when I set out on cross-country skis for the first time this winter season, I had pilgrimages on my mind.
I started to think about the holy place to which I was trekking and I remembered gratefully the hundreds of times God has met me there.
You see, there is a wall that freezes into thousands of icicles this time of year that is along my ski trail. It is a holy place for me. It is quiet and peaceful and I stand in awe of God’s creation each and every time I find myself standing before it.
It is a perfect distance from my car, and if I’m lucky, I’ll catch a glimpse of one of the eagles that lives in the nest that is across the river.
The other thing I was thinking about while on my personal pilgrimage today was the instruction of a devotional I read over the weekend.
“Be surprised. Watch for Jesus in your life; watch for realities you don’t usually imagine.”
Each day I wake with an expectation of how the day will go. Sometimes I write lists I expect I’ll complete. Sometimes I jot those “to-do’s” as I pray through my morning. Too often I get frustrated when I seem so unproductive and when my list grows instead of shrinks.
In my prayer journal today, I jotted down those things I expect to happen, but I set out on my day with a new intention to embrace the unexpected…the surprises.
My first surprise of the day came on the trail.
I expected to see the ice wall today. The surprise came when I realized that the eagles I pray to see each and every time I am on that trail, were both perched at the top of a tree above the wall. Can you see them? Had you noticed them when you first looked at my picture?
We are all on a pilgrimage each and every day. We are journeying some place holy, on purpose, but God has so many surprises for us along the way. It could be a person who interrupts us as we walk through a store, or a child who asks for us to listen to an important story. God knows I love eagles, and he gifted me with their stoic presence this morning at the wall I expected to see. They were the surprise I thankfully noticed.
May your pilgrimage today bring you to the place you are seeking and with plenty of joyful surprises along the way.
Copyright Choosing to Grow 2016 www.meaganfrank.com