Eat. Pray. Hike.
In the book Eat, Pray, Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert embarks on adventure across Italy, India and Indonesia to find happiness, connection and meaning. At the very end of the book, as she prepares for the next chapter of her life, Gilbert turns to her new found lover and says, “Attaversiamo,” which means let’s cross over, let’s do this, and they do.
Let’s cross over to what comes next.
That’s exactly where I find myself as I approach the end of my twenties and prepare to turn thirty in September. I don’t know how others have felt about turning thirty but I approach it with curiosity and excitement. I wasn’t a big fan of my twenties. My twenties, and even my teens, marked for me a time when I was uncomfortable in my own skin. When I wanted desperately to please other people and tried to stuff myself into the shapes and molds that society created around me. “Maybe I am supposed to act like this,” I thought to myself. “Or like this,” I would add. Even after I discerned my call to ministry at the age of 21, it was a long time before I shared freely my experiences of faith and what I believed. I was afraid that if I did freely express myself, and I did not conform to the right beliefs, I would not be approved in the ministry process. However, somewhere along my twenties, I realized that, at my core, I was simply called to be myself in life and in ministry. I am a progressive who weeps over the violence of Jesus’ crucifixion. I hunger for reconciliation and strive to discover a third way as I meet people where they are. I believe in hope over despair, peace over violence, love over hatred and strive to do what I can to make the world a better place for all to live in.
I look forward to crossing over to my thirties. My hope is that this decade would be an opportunity to enjoy being me and doing the things I love – hiking as much as possible, marveling at the beauty of creation, growing in my faith & helping others do the same, serving my community, talking to strangers, reading, napping, walking barefoot through the grass, watching as many sunsets as I possibly can, and spending time with the people I love.
For me, that is what my 2.5 week pilgrimage this September is about. I am going to pray at the Taize Monastery, celebrate my birthday in Basel, hike in the Alps and eat delicious Swiss food in Geneva.
Eat. Pray. Hike.
It’s a pilgrimage.
Author Parker Palmer talks about pilgrimages as “a transformative journey to a sacred center.” He notes that in the process of traveling, “we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now – in every moment of the journey, everywhere in the world around us, and deep within our own hearts.”
The sacred center is the discovery of the beauty in our world and in ourselves that has always been present, even when we couldn’t see it.
And so I cross over to another decade.