Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not all who wander are lost.

Last summer I was blessed to be able to go on Pilgrimage to Spain where we walked parts of the el Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). 

The story of St. James is that he along with his brother John were two of the first disciples of Jesus.  After the death of Christ, James continued to travel around and preach the lessons of Jesus.  After traveling to Iberia, James returned to Judea where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I.  His body was then transported to Galicia, Spain where it remains today at Santiago de Compestella. 

This has become a very popular pilgrimage location where people will hike for weeks until they arrive in Santiago at the end of their journey.

Last summer we walked part of this trail and visited the church and viewed the tomb of St. James. 

Yesterday, as I was scrolling through Netflix trying to decide what to watch, I ran across a movie that I watched before we went to Spain.  The Way with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.  In the movie, Estevez goes to hike the Camino but gets caught in a storm and dies one day into his journey.  Sheen, the father goes to bring the body home and ends up walking the Camino.

Many times in our lives, we find ourselves faced with a situation that is unexpected and we don’t know what to do.  We feel lost and confused and alone.

Where do you turn?  What do you do when you feel so lost and confused?

In the movie, he just begins walking.  He doesn’t know what he is searching for or what he wants to accomplish.  He just walks. 

He starts off walking alone.  At first he tries to keep his distance from others on the trail and walk alone.  However, he meets various people along the way and by the end of it he reaches Santiago with his three new friends.

Many times when we are lost and confused, not only do we feel that we are alone but we try to keep that feeling by distancing ourselves. 

We push away our friends who are there to help, our family that loves us, and we forget about all the people in our lives that care for us and love us.  We push them away and we wander.

Like Martin Sheen in the movie The Way, we don’t know why or where, we just go, keep moving forward.  No real destination but we are trying to get there in a hurry.

Running from that feeling of being lost and hurt and sad and alone…we just walk.

How many times have you misplaced something, your car keys, you glasses, your phone…you look for it FOREVER and can’t find it but then when you stop looking its always right there.  You know what I am talking about.

In my experiences, that is exactly what life is like sometimes.  There have been times in my life when I have been so confused and lost and felt that you are being pulled underwater and you don’t even know which way is up.  You search and beg and plead for answers, but the harder you look the more lost you feel.  Until you have had enough and you stop searching, stop trying, you just walk…

It is in this moment that something beautiful happens. 

Just because you have given up and stopped searching doesn’t mean that God has stopped.  Even when your back is turned and you are walking away. 

When Sheen reaches Santiago, his character has completely changed.  He did not know what he was walking towards when he began, but by the end he had found just what he needed.

Things in our lives are not always set in a way that makes sense.  Things happen sometimes that, to be honest, just plain suck.  Things that you can’t prepare for.  Things that may take everything you thought you knew and mix it all up.

Life is confusing!

The Psalm assigned for today is Psalm 139:1-9.

LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go then from your Spirit? *
where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb up to heaven, you are there; *
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

If I take the wings of the morning *
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand will lead me *
and your right hand hold me fast.

“Not all who wander are lost.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien

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