Now that I travel on real long trips, I have to do a great deal of reading, and research. I will first come up with the general direction of where I would like to go. Taking into account the information gathered, I will then get down to the specifics of the proposed journey. This year I even bought a book on the great Northwest, and promptly left home,..without it. Oh, these senior moments !!!!!. Then on the other hand am I not blessed to have lived long enough to have what is necessary to get away with that..."another senior moment"! When I was younger and asked for a room key, to replace the one I lost, or left in the room, I got dirty looks. Now, thank
the good Lord, I get knowing smiles, or in some cases sympathetic words. Being a part time senile senior sure makes life, to say the least, exciting and never dull. Sorry, I digress.
When I get to a specific stop, I immediately head for the Visitor's Center. Some centers are wonderful in the way you are treated. There is a great sense of hospitality and welcome. You are given the impression they are excited to see you, and are anxious to help make your stay enjoyable. I find myself looking forward to my stay with an added excitement. That is not true in every case though. Other centers lack that intangible. You come away with the feeling that the particular person, who was there to help you, sees life as a deep burden. To add to their burden, is your presence and questions. Is not that the same feeling one gets, as one seeks information and direction from many church offices.
Those helpful individuals at the Visitor’s Center are more than happy to share their experience of an encounter in a particular place. They will share the last time they saw a wolf, bear, elk, moose, and where the encounter happened. They will share with you their experience of a hike. They have tips on where to go, and what to expect. I always want to know if there are switchbacks. From that encounter I always leave with a greater sense of excitement and confidence. So when I look at hiking this way, I can say, my spiritual journey, is a hike. Just as I have to my reading and research for my intended hike, so must I do for my spiritual journey. I will have to listen to the experiences of those who have made the journey before me, so I will be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. I will read the books written by those who have gone before in which the beauty, and the trials of the trail are described. Reading and research can only do so much, it is only in the lived moment , in the existential moment, does The Mystery of the time, place, and space really reach us. We are so often stopped in our tracts, and are able to join with St.Peter in saying: "How good it is that we are here".
One of my favorite guides for my everyday hike is, Fr Ronald Rolheiser. I have just acquired his book "Against An Infinite Horizon", I see this book as a source of knowledge, leading to a deeper understanding of the hike, I am called to make every day, along the trail shrouded in the mist of mystery. I was delighted to read the following, and I use it to further develop what was introduced last week. Last week, I made a real big mistake. In speaking about mutual blessings I left out the blessings that couples who are in a relationship need to bestow on one another. That was a real big mistake, and I am sorry. I honestly believe that the mutual blessing of those in relationship will bring an ever deepening sense of serenity, peace, joy and love. How can this happen, you may well say?
Here is what Fr. Ronald has to say:"...To bless someone is to speak well of them. But this implies a special form of "speaking well". To bless someone is, through some word, gesture, or ritual, to make that person aware of three things:
(1) the goodness of the original creation where, after making the earth and humans, God said that it was "good, very good";
(2) that God experiences the same delight and pleasure in him or her that God experienced with Jesus at His baptism when he said " This is my beloved child in whom I take delight”, and
(3) that we, who are giving the blessing, recognize that goodness and take delight in that person."
What a gift our God has given to us. We can bless and in that blessing we speak a deeper truth. What is stopping us from filling up in each person’s life, that for which we ache, and search for. To be blessed, to know we are the Beloved. "To be unblessed is to be bleeding in a very deep place" (Fr, Ronald) We can really make a difference in the lives of those whom our God places in our life so we can be to them, His instrument of blessing. What faith our God has in us, mortal humans, in whom is hidden, MYSTERY.