At its heart, the journey of each life is a pilgrimage, through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul. – John O’Donohue
I named my blog “The Second Pilgrimage” for a few reasons.
First it represents the period of time following my pilgrimage to Spain. I walked the Camino de Santiago – from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Muxia, Spain – praying for peace and healing, but felt nothing. My life changed upon my return home. I was unable to work in the way I previously had, so I volunteered at a nursing home facility and at a horse farm that offers therapeutic riding to persons with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. I unplugged from the noise of the world and spent hours of each day in silence.
A recovering overachiever, I was humbled in a way that forced a new perspective. I knew the pain I felt during that stretch could either produce wisdom or bitterness. Although there was plenty of the latter, my time in the desert resulted in a metanoia, a purifying of the heart that did include peace and healing.
The name also signifies a new chapter in my life. I recently went back to school to become a chaplain, am getting ready to send my youngest child to college, and have entered my fifties with all the joys of gray hair, poor vision, and memory lapses. I started riding horses and unsubscribed from junk news. I have followed a curious calling to provide spiritual support to seniors, and have decided to write in a way that is less about my story and more about the human story.
The logo is intentional, too. The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino, appearing on signposts, buildings, and pathways en route to Santiago. One of its meanings is the reminder that there are many paths to the center. Our faith may be our foundation, but all the detours we take to arrive at peace and healing aren’t wasted adventures. They are part of our pilgrimage.
My reflections on this page hope to present a theology of surrender, hope, and new beginnings pulling from my new experiences as a chaplain, a volunteer at the horse farm, and a woman greeting her more seasoned years. “The Second Pilgrimage” is a blog about recognizing the holy places along our life journey and mustering up the courage and patience to kneel there for awhile.