Muslims have Mecca. Jews, Israel. Long distance runners head to the Boston Marathon. There are events and places, pilgrimages, that we use to help define us. Maybe they don’t so much define us, but give us something to shoot for that is outside of our norm. These events and places challenge us, cause us to sacrifice to accomplish them, and often cause us to think about who we really are. Why do we need them? Who knows, and truthfully, does it really matter? These things help to bring out the best in us, make us appreciate the world and culture around us, and let us know that we are best when we participate in something bigger than ourselves.
For me, I am about to participate in one of those. 12 months ago, I took a trip to Asia. When I came back, something rose up in me – something I just couldn’t let go of. Day after day, the only thing I could think of was going back. Now, I love traveling and experiencing different cultures, but this was different. I felt compelled to go back, and not just to have a nice vacation or do missions. This time, I was to go to do something outside of the norm. To see what I haven’t been able to see in my everyday life. To open my eyes to that which is probably right before me, but I haven’t been willing to step into. To do something that will help bring out the best in me.
I’m going on pilgrimage…
Malcolm X, writing about his pilgrimage to Mecca, said
But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to re-arrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.
I have expectations on this trip. Maybe not on the level of Malcolm X (or maybe so… we’ll see). Maybe I’ll come back with some rearranged thoughts. Maybe I will be able to release some of my previous conclusions. Maybe I’ll just have some great Chinese food.
I’m hoping it’s both…
PIlgrimages don’t have to take you around the world, but if that’s what it takes, I encourage you to look for yours.