Extended Pilgrim’s Joy

I have been on many many journeys, and perhaps it is one of the clearest ways I’ve actually seen God working.

The most prominent is the pilgrimage I went on about a year ago with Mark and a couple other friends. Honestly, I didn’t like the idea of walking for 127km in the hot dry weather of spain with a 10kg backpack and with people I hardly knew. It sounded tiring, tedious, pointless and almost downright silly. But so is life sometimes.

The walk itself was really an experience, I understood perseverance, determination and of course, pain in the form of blisters.

But  what made it a God experience was the fact that there was someone walking it with me. Once I walked it with Mark and Shaun talking about life back in Singapore and the struggles we face. Another time I spoke to my spanish friend Elena about our families and who we are in our respective countries. Then on another day I had the longest sharing of my life (possibly a good 3 hours worth of talking) with Mingyan where I spoke about the baggages I was carrying and all my philosophies of life. One time I asked my german friend Simone what she wanted to be in the future and other times I spoke about church philosophy. There was so much talking and even more listening. Not forgetting, there were times when I was alone, almost completely alone because I couldn’t see the person in front nor behind me. But in those times, strangely, I knew I was not alone because somehow God was there and I sang songs with him and pointed out funny looking trees to him. There was so much beauty and joy in those moments it makes me feel like going for another pilgrimage again, one more pointless trek across mother nature with community! Moreover, it makes the prayers and singing at the end of the day seem so much more meaningful and of course a lot less tiring. It’s one of those experiences that pass by way too fast.

Pilgrimages aren’t constrained to just 7 dedicated days of walking. I’ve had fantastic journeys in Japan, USA, UK and some parts of Asia and from all those trips I’ve come to realize that journeys aren’t about visiting a place like universal studios or the ang kor wat, journeys(regardless of the origin and destination) are very much about the travelling. Thus, as much as plane rides are too dry and any bus ride too nauseating, I enjoy the actual travelling and hardly want to waste a moment (the 2nd reason why I don’t sleep in transportation, the first is more of a physiological reason) I just can’t bring myself to miss a sunset, or the games we play to entertain ourselves or the conversation because 2 people are bored and don’t want to ‘just listen to their iPods’. Similarly, I hope our journey in the coming 7 weeks is a translation of that in my life in Singapore because you can never have too much joyous moments (: Plus it’ll make my bus rides less mundane and maybe by then I will delete my game in my phone which is being used to pass time (but really eliminating bricks brings me no joy :\ )

It’s like stepping back from life but moving forward at the very same time, it’s like dancing through life.

me dancing in our bunk in spain though I’m not sure why… 😛

(had so many more memories to share but that would make this far too long but it’ll appear in due time)

-jes

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