Why I am a pilgrim…

I just had a wonderful phone call with a friend who is completing his Master’s in Public Health and who, as a Latino, also seeks to make deep connections with his indigenous ancestry.  He called to strongly affirm the idea of a pilgrimage for immigrants stating that it reminds us of our roots as people of the Earth who need to walk the Earth.   Additionally, he expressed that a pilgrimage is a time to disconnect from the things that distract us and clutter our minds so as to bring clarity.  Call it prayer, meditation, thinking, or just silence; the space for this is a cherished gift of the pilgrimage.

Plus, he reminded me of the physical benefits of a walking prayer should not be forgotten.  We live in a fast food, sedentary culture where the consequences have innumerable costs to our bodies, our self-esteem, and also have high societal costs in terms of real dollars spent dealing with the consequences of our over-consumption.
So as I prepare to walk; I am thankful for this phone conversation.  It has reminded me even more deeply that we walk, not just to see just laws passed by the kingdom of this world.  We walk because we want inward and outward transformation.  We walk because my liberation is dependent upon your liberation and the liberation of Pedro Guzman, detained in the Stewart Detention Center and separated from his family for over 18 months.  I walk for the mutual liberation of my dear friend Norma, an undocumentable, uninsurable immigrant whose life depends on dialysis and not being deported.  I walk because my liberation is dependent upon the liberation of Senator Chip Rogers or D.A. King from the politics of fear and the intoxication of power.

As I close, I want to leave you with some quotes that will carry me on my pilgrimage.

  • “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi
  • “If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” — Raymond Inmon
  • “All walking is discovery.  On foot we take the time to see things whole.”– Hal Borland
  • “After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”– G.M. Trevelyan
  • “One step at a time is good walking.” — Chinese Proverb
  • “Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.” — Albert Camus
  • “Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.” — Frederick Buechner
  • “Real love is a pilgrimage.  It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists.” — Anita Brookner
  • “This is the most joyful day that I ever saw in my pilgrimage on this earth.” — Donald Cargill
Walk in peace and grace.

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