On Pilgrimage


I promised myself for Lent I’d write.

But what to write?

The Urban Monastic is on pilgrimage.  Okay, yes, but technically????

I’m homeless.  And have been.  Since the beginning of February.

Roving from shelter site to shelter site (literally a different site every night of the week) while the shelters last (we have no year-round shelters, so only ’til the end of March) is a pilgrimage right enough.  Granted it seems a bit like the kind of pilgrimage Pooh and Piglet took around a tree — following their own tracks in the snow and looking for what made them — but time is moving in a forward and linear direction, whether I seem to be moving in anything but circles or not.

Circumstances are complicated, nuanced, and more than I really want to get into on so many levels.  2013 broke me, plain-and-simple.  It is what it is, but the question remains how to find something of a phoenix in the ashes.


“Dad, you don’t choose a life, you live one.” — Daniel Avery, The Way

This journey is a pilgrimage.

It’s not a marathon, it’s not a happy little hill-walk for leisurely enjoying the wildflowers.  It’s not a thing to be rushed, sped through, escaped as fast as humanly possible.

That would be…

…that would be like arriving at a busy transit hub and getting on the first bus or train to leave — regardless of destination — merely to escape the location of the transit hub.

That would be stupid.

At the same time, you can’t take up residence in the transit hub and never leave — that would be equally stupid.

This journey is a pilgrimage — the only way out is through, it has a beginning and an end, but it is a journey of deliberation and contemplation as much as it is a journey of destination.

I have a passion for urban ministries.  A friend of mine joked that this journey is like an urban missions internship.

It is what it is, and what it is…is a pilgrimage.

¡Buen camino!

I forgot to credit my source for the shell image — http://tatianasbowl.wordpress.com/


8 thoughts on “On Pilgrimage

  1. Oh Val, how extraordinarily beautiful and, simultaneously, angst-ridden. I have worked with homeless and I know how hard it is, or can be, for women. — an Urban mission internship… Yes. You’re bright, you’re good, you’re God-filled…
    I’m going on a retreat this weekend, a retreat we are preparing for others to take. I will keep you in my heart and prayers.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    With love and friendship. Blessings.

  2. Reblogged this on A Seat At The Table and commented:
    Ah, for my pilgrim friends. Those who have walked the Camino, or are planning to walk it. For my kindred spirited friends… For those of us who read Isaiah this morning…
    Let us pray, folks. Let us pray…

  3. Glad hearing you’re hanging in as best can be managed–I do like the thought of an urban mission internship… of sorts—I’ve been praying during the silence and will continue as you now surface for breath

    • Blessings on you. I’ve been living in the local hills for about a year and a half. My canyon has data, but not WiFi. So much has happened, but I am very blessed and well and loved. There is deep, deep grief at some prwtty profound loss, but in life there are some things one does not “get over,” but must simply (eventually) get through. I’m working on it, but I think that in the end, this journey will make me a better pastor.

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