‘Blessed are those whose hearts are set on pilgrimage’ (Psalm 84.5)
Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, and once Bishop of Reading, has written a book, ‘Striking Out’ on his 700 kilometre pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela via the least travelled route across northern Spain. The book is a collection of his reflections and poems as he walked that long road.
Journeys are often marked by beginnings and endings – where are we starting, who is travelling with us, when will we get there. But journeys are often just part of something bigger, our lives are made of many beginnings and endings which make up the rhythm of life. September often marks a new start: a new school, going off to university or college, starting new job – all both exciting and scary adventures. What will it be like, who will we know, will we know what to do.. Change can be difficult for so many of us, we are creatures of habit and we like to know what tomorrow holds. But we need change, we need to keep on the move, to learn more about life and ourselves
We need to be brave, to take risks, to know that it is alright to fail and start again. We can probably all remember our first day at school, I certainly can. Suddenly all the security of life seemed to have diminished, everything was new and scary, and the next step in my growing up. Life is full of such moments and sometimes we get so caught up in the treadmill of daily life that we do not fully acknowledge the new beginnings, the beauty surrounding us on the way, life is just about getting to the destination. I pray that whatever beginnings you have ahead of you, you will make the most of the journeying. I end with one of the poem by Stephen Cottrell in his book:
Between A and B there is a vast space.
But with eyes on the road, and a brisk pace,
you’ll never see it. It is warm and slow.
It finds the contours of the land, and goes
the same speed as you. If you make your goal
the destination then you’ll never know
how to travel well. Oh, so much misery
is heaped upon the world by those who move
quickly and think only of the end.
Another way is waiting. And all that
it requires is what you’ve already got:
time, candour, and a sturdy pair of shoes.
Between A and B there is a space. It is
here. And now. It is your life. If you choose.
With blessings and peace