Monday, December 31, 2012
"Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien
This morning I listened to a re-broadcast of a CBC Q interview with Cheryl Strayed. Her biography Wild is about a specific backpacking journey on a demanding West Coast trail which helped Strayed recalibrate her life after the death of her mother. I have "strayed" away from reading this book because I felt that the author's choice to rename herself Strayed was a bit precious, and in my mind there were overtones of Eat, Pray, Love another memoir which the women in my life felt was very self indulgent. I will say that the interview intrigued me. There was a degree of self-reflection in her responses that invited me in, and there was a rigour to her journey which demands respect.
As you well know, I have reflected on the nature of pilgrimage a number of times, whether it be El Camino (The Way) which several people I know have undertaken, or the Islamic Haj, or the literary quests created by Tolkien including The Hobbit. Of course, Christianity grew out of the movement which was originally called The Way, which spawned a New Testament paraphrase back in the seventies.
On the eve of a new year I wonder whether this is the opportunity for all of us to ask about our way, our purpose. Are we wandering, or straying, or do we have a focus for our journey? Can we look back over 2012 and see signs of personal growth? Do we hope that 2013 will be a year of new spiritual beginnings, or the "same old, same old" of conventions which are safe but not particularly stimulating?
These questions are not rhetorical, dear readers! I would love to read your thoughts about all this. Take the risk.