Spent the last two days at my friend’s place, recovering. Turns out I needed it. Not just physically, but for a bit more mental and spiritual preparation. The degree of attachment I have to “successfully completing” a pilgrimage is staggering. That’s where a lot of the fear is coming from. That I won’t “make it.” That I won’t “succeed.” As if the whole point is to tell people that I walked “such and such a distance. Look how special I am.”
Thought about giving up a lot. I’m noticing though, that the voice in my head telling me that I’ll fail is coming from within my head, but the voice urging me forward is coming from my heart. That’s the voice I usually don’t listen to.
As a going-away gift, my friend gave me a small book full of Buddhist mantras and a harmonica. He drove me to the beach in Santa Monica. He stopped the car.
“You sure you want to do this?” he said.
“Yes,” I said, quaking in my hiking boots.
We both got out of the car. He hugged me, got back in, and drove off.
I started walking. The fear went up a couple notches, and I started feeling like I’d made a big mistake.
I passed a homeless-looking guy as I walked along the beach. Long haired, bearded, dirty skin and filthy clothes, carrying two shopping bags. Am I going to wind up like him? I wondered.
As we passed, the man smiled at me and said, “Have a good weekend in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Surprised, I said, “You too, brother.”
I felt ashamed at how quickly I had judged him, based on his appearance. I had just assumed he was some aimless wanderer. I knew nothing of his story, how he got there, where he was headed. He could have been a saint, for all I knew.
I have a lot to learn.
I took a break and sat on the beach for a while, talked to a friend on the phone, and got an encouraging email from a blog subscriber. By this point, a lot of the fear had dissipated, and I actually started to enjoy myself. I put my hands over my heart and I prayed.
“Do I keep going or go back?” I asked.
“Keep going!” came the answer from my heart.
One day at a time. One step at a time. Until the answer is, “Go back.” No attachment to results. Just waiting on God, letting the Holy Spirit direct my course.
Currently at the library. It’ll be dark soon. Time to visit some churches and seek shelter.