The Rev. Twila Smith
Grace & Mediator, Allentown
“… you know what time it is,
how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.”
– Romans 13:11
Each night of my longest pilgrimage, I was in a different place, and at first I found it difficult to keep entering the new. As exciting as the days were, with each encounter carrying me on to the next, weaker parts of me were resisting the steps of change.
Deep into this long journey, the way of pilgrimage began to take hold.
One morning, as I blinked my eyes in the dark and stretched road-tired muscles, I could not remember where I was. My body knows this new routine and I will soon be walking – I know to get up and get on with things – but where is it I awaken? And where am I going today?
The reference point, in the early days of this pilgrimage, had been the moment of first setting out. It was in the long, mid-section that I learned to let go of that place on the map – to arise from sleep each day, aware that I had come to a new place, and to set my feet on this unfamiliar ground. To do otherwise, I might reach an ending exactly as I had begun. And that was not the point.
Here at this point, with what was and what is to be equally distant, a new practice emerged: Nightly unpacking to examine encounters of the previous miles, noticing movements, patterns, pauses; at daybreak, choosing what to leave behind, what to carry, and praying to be open to the travels ahead.
Each day, every encounter, invites us to bring with us gifts from where we have been, yet begs us to enter awakened, afresh. For this way, only one reference point is needed – Christ, who is here at every waking, here with us in each new place. From here, I can trust that we travel together … and will go where we are meant to be.