I felt in need of a great pilgrimage, so I sat still for three days, and God came to me. -- Kabir
All journeys have a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware. -- Martin Buber
Homer's epic tale of the Greek hero Odysseus is an ancient adventure story. The Odyssey recounts the hero's longing and struggle to return home after a prolonged absence.
That story from the 8th Century BCE continues to captivate our imaginations, inviting us to reflect on the journeys of our own lives. Reflecting on life as a journey, we find ourselves wondering which is more important: the journey or the destination. We face decisions about what to take along on the journey of a day, week, or lifetime, and what to leave behind. There are choices about whether to travel solo or with companions. And for some, the journey isn't a choice at all, but a forced migration.
When we leave home and then finally do return home after an absence, if we have the option to return, we may find ourselves encountering a place that is markedly different from the one we left. We can't help but wonder if it is in fact the same place at all or whether we are the ones who have changed, or both.
And of course not every journey is a journey outward to another town, country, or galaxy. The inward journey has just as much to offer us, sometimes more. Kabir reminds us that we may not need to chase after what we seek. Sometimes staying where we are can be the greatest pilgrimage of all. If we just stay still in the same place, the divine will come to us. And Martin Buber reminds us that the journey will surely take us to secret places we never expected to go.
This month, as we consider what it means to be a people of journey, we will practice telling our own life stories and listening to the unique stories of others.
Yours in faith and love,
Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees