A Pilgrim Spirit

I have been thinking a lot about pilgrimage, as I begin early stages of planning for my pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago this fall.

The other day I thumbed through a short book written some years ago by my friend Ed Sellner on pilgrimage, titled (fittingly enough) Pilgrimage.

At one point Sellner observes that there are bound to be hitches on any pilgrimage, even days when nothing seems to go right. One reponse to the inevitable hitches is to get frustrated and irritated. But that, he suggests, is not the “pilgrim spirit.” Rather, “the pilgrim spirit is about trusting that everything will (eventually) turn out for the best.”

Of course, what Sellner says about pilgrimage is no less true than in the rest of our lives. No matter how blessed we are, things don’t always go according to our plans. We face set-backs and suffering, large and small.

We are, thus, no less in need of a pilgrim spirit at home than when on pilgrimage. A spirit that trusts that (in the words of Julian of Norwich) “all will be well, and all will be well.” Maybe not today, and maybe not even tomorrow, but all will turn out to be well.

A pilgrim spirit is about trust. Trust that enables us to give up on our need to control every aspect of every situation. Trust in the God who loves us and is always with us.