Earlier this week, I attended a lecture by a faculty member who told stories about the two pilgrimages he took to reflect on his life and discover his faith more deeply. “Most people are not intentional about discovering our vision,” he said. I have been pondering his thoughts for days.
He is right. Many people “fall into” a career or a job, rather than intentionally seeking out the vocational path that they are traveling. We leap from one transition to the next — high school to college to job to family to retirement — without taking substantial time to reflect on the journey itself or which route to take.
Dean said that on a pilgrimage, “paying attention to where we are at the time is just as important as the end of the journey.” I think that concept is often lost on people; we focus so much on graduating that we don’t savor the time in school or we worry about getting the promotion rather than relishing the steps along the way.
Whether through a formal multi-week, multi-month or multi-mile sojourn like Dean experienced or through a mini-escape of your own, I think we would all be well-served to find a place to “disarm” ourselves for a period. This can be through immersion, fasting, journaling, wandering, reflection, asking good questions, being alone in nature, prayer, yoga or just being silent.
Take steps and seek to find, as David Whyte writes in House of Belonging, a “small, bright, indescribable wedge of freedom” where your true self may lie.
Source: Searching Faith: Catching Fire by Dean Manternach, Mackin-Mailander Lecture Series, March 17, 2015.