How is our journey a travel of ministry and not just a tour? We start today on the pilgrimage to Santiago. I am asking Spirit to guide my feet. Each action, small or large, is done with consciousness. Traveling as a Quaker includes three stages of the journey: 1) preparation; 2) the voyage usually on unfamiliar territory; and 3) bringing the message home. I want to add a fourth stage—rest. Today, just after a full moon (looking very gold more than blue), I’m at the tail end of preparation.
WOW, did I encounter all parts of my past lives and in August, I tossed much of it. We went to the dump twice, gave four bags to the AFSC clothing room, sent huge black trash bags to the garbage and this year gave away 25 boxes of books. A handful of books and board games went to the Boston Quaker Volunteer house. It is the bane of our society that we collect and accumulate. It burdens us in more ways than one. I’m now living with only 20 pounds. How as a Quaker can I expect the gift of simplicity if I’m caring and sorting and fixing stuff many of my days?
It was fun to off load and often hard. I was blessed with so much help: Betsy hauled away books to “More than Words,” Bonnie packed clothes tighter than I could imagine, George stored our large portraits, Mary fixed a corner of our sofa, Shelley painted our bathroom, and our neice vacuumed every nook and cranny of the house. Nancy tried to throw away a broken dragon, I pulled it from the trash. Then next week she came to whisk away children’s books and she helped me throw it away again. I recommend that we do such a purge every year, to do an inventory and toss or recycle things so as to let more light and lightness into your life. It’s in the same vein as spring cleaning; this for me was a fall clearing.
Clouds hang low today as we chug by bus up to France. We expect some lightening and rain for a few days. Jonathan and I are subdued, a bit like a pelican with a meal stored in its beak gliding low. I tossed and turned in bed last night, finally dreaming of arriving at the ocean and finding a huge long ditch 10 feet deep blocking all access to the waves. I know so little of the way ahead of me. But I have nothing to fear. When we met with a tender group for our Quaker clearness there was a deep sense of rightness for this trip, like a tuning bell sounding clear and round echoing off all nearby objects.
Tomorrow, sept 1st we begin the first day of six weeks, from France to Spain on the Napolean Way—25km in the Pyrenees. It’s one of the most strenuous. Keep the prayers coming.
There are many ways as you walk the Way.