Monday, December 31, 2012

The Way

"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.


willowjakmom said...

Happy New Year, to you David and to fellow readers!

I decided today to not aim too high for the new year, but to continue with our family mantra, "keep on keepin' on". So much of this year has been about coping. Putting one foot in front of the other and just getting on with it. But while this is a genuine description of how we have been living our day-to-day lives, I realize that we have always had our eyes forward. I might enjoy watching tv from my couch, but I don't live my life like a couch potato. I want to continue to grow, to learn and to connect with other people. In looking back at how I have gotten to where I am, I can see that any progress we have made, has come from making choices that were outside of my comfort zone.

So this year I'm pledging to not become complacent, to fight the urge to roll over when my days get too tough, to feed my soul with good books and great company. Most importantly, my journey will focus on finding my inner strength so that I've got the energy to keep on this long journey ahead.

Many thanks to you and the friends I've made from this community who have already begun to help me on this path.

IanD said...

I'd pick up on a point made by willowjakmom: I've got to read more and connect with those that are most important.

I find great satisfaction and meaning in the work I do with kids, and the time I spend with my own kids. I'm going to strive to get to church more, read more, fight my own arrogance and laziness (in their myriad forms) and work to make this the best year I've ever had.


Laura said...

Was struck by a comment I heard on Boxing Day by a fine civic citizen,while at a blood donor clinic...I asked how his Christmas was...and his response was " oh good, you know, but it is for the kids". I have heard that said many times with little thought except that kids actually do add to Christmas,but this year, confined to a chair attached to a tube draining my blood, for some reason it gave me pause for thought and I felt offended by that response. Reducing Christmas to a " childish" thing seemed deeply wrong...although well intentioned. I didn't like hearing Christmas dismissed like if there was nothing in it for adults, or nothing left of it on Boxing Day. So I tune my internal compass to deepening and growing in my life, what Christmas began over 2000 years ago and should deeply affect every day of my life.