Monday, July 8, 2013

A Pilgrim's Compass...

   I've believed in an internal GPS for a long time but my recent series of posts on pilgrimage got me thinking about compasses...the ancient form of GPS.  Is there something akin to the compass for those who want to travel with a pilgrim's heart?  Is it any different that this internal GPS that I've referred to before?

   A GPS will take you to a location that you have determined...that you plug into the device.  It won't take you to Chicago if you typed in New York.  My internal GPS, as I define it, takes me to where I need to be.  I may think I'm going to Chicago but it may be saying New York!  A compass points only to the magnetic north and then, if you know your destination is south, you can set off in the right direction.  The pilgrim's compass also points to a magnetic direction but for the pilgrim it indicates the direction of your longing and that can be anywhere.

   We are well into our summer season of travel and it is helpful to reflect on the direction of our longings.   Do we go to familiar places close to home, like I am doing this year, simply to relive our cherished past or do we go, as I hope I am, to see it all anew?  What did we miss before?  You are not the same person you were when you visited in the past so, in reality, you will not see the same things you did then.  Your frame of reference has changed and the encounter will be entirely different.  That is what I am experiencing as I re-visit long familiar places near to home. My pilgrim's compass points me in the direction of my longing and my internal GPS concurs...this is where I need to be.  I've used this quote before but it bears repeating...

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust

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