One year ago, I began a week-long pilgrimage across the country. On August 28, 2017, I checked in at Montreat in NC, for personal time set aside to be with God. I was very excited yet a bit nervous to begin my journey; not knowing what God had in store for me. I felt adventurous, spending time with just me and God. I planned spiritual direction with a retired Episcopal priest and writer I admired, scheduled a lunch meeting with a liturgical artist I hardly knew, and made overnight accommodations at Benedictine monasteries in IN, PA, and NY. My only expectations were to have none. I planned to listen to people’s stories of faith along the way and be open to the Spirit’s movement in my life. I participated in the Liturgy of the Hours when staying in the monasteries, and I journaled daily. The following is what I wrote on this day last year:
There are many faithful people who have stories to share, but they may not have a way or make a way to share them. Right now I strongly feel called to listen to people’s stories of faith, and to take no notes, as I might miss what I hear and not be fully present. I love to share how God has been working in my life, but only when it’s the right opportunity. I would prefer mutual sharing. I am very aware of not wanting to seem boastful, yet at the same time it is important to be able to share these stories of faith and God’s grace.
As I reflect on last year’s pilgrimage, I realize that although my plans were to listen to others’ stories, they inevitably asked me to share my own story. By sharing in this way, I was unexpectedly fulfilled and my soul was nourished.