Every year, we routinely come up with New Year’s resolutions with the wish that our goals may all come true. The reality is, however, that we often do not succeed in achieving our goals either because our goals were too ambitious and unrealistic to begin with, or because of the poor planning. If we are serious about achieving goals, any goals, then we have to remember a quote that is attributed to Einstein, “Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In other words, the only way to achieve our goals, even those things we were unable to previously, is by “changing.” Yes, changing our outlook, our plans, our habits, and even our character or personality! Unless we go through the painful process of a change, we will not be able to achieve our goals and resolutions.
One of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t have the courage is the pilgrimage walk in Spain. Every year, I told myself that I would do it “next year” and next year has never come. So I decided to change that once and for all this year! The famous El Camino in Spain is an ancient pilgrimage walk from the French border through the Pyrenees Mountain all the way to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela. Although the entire walk is about 740km, one is not required to do the entire distance. Therefore, as a starter I have begun entertaining the thought of doing the modest (or the shortest) distance which is about 130km.
I still can’t believe I am actually thinking of doing this, as for the last several years when my friends have asked me to go on the walking pilgrimage to Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland I shrugged them off each and every time. But, the grace of God somehow penetrated my hardened heart and planted the seed of doing El Camino. One of the reasons I want to do the walking pilgrimage is because I want to remind myself that life is a pilgrim journey.
Our life is a pilgrimage because we are all on our journey to the Promised Land, which is our Heavenly homeland. But in the pilgrimage of life, we are not alone, we walk together. Although reaching the destination is the most important part of pilgrimage, the journey itself is no less important, because it is within the journey of life that we discover the reason and the purpose for our journey, we also forge friendships and find strength in each other to complete the journey. I found tremendous encouragement and meaning in the following lines. I pray that this pilgrim prayer will bring you grace and blessings as it has done for me.
May flowers spring up where your feet touch the earth.
May the feet that walked before you bless your every step.
May the weather that’s important be the weather of your heart.
May all of your intentions find their way into the heart of God.
May your prayers be like flowers strewn for other pilgrims.
May your heart find meaning in unexpected events.
May friends who are praying for you carry you along the way.
May friends who are praying for you be carried in your heart.
May the circle of life encircle you along the way.
May the broken world ride on your shoulders.
May you carry your joy and your grief in the backpack of your soul.
May you remember all the circles of prayer throughout the world.
(by Macrina Wiederkehr)