I am giving a sermon this morning on the difference between being a pilgrim and a tourist. A tourist goes through life just seeing sights, avoiding personal commitments and remaining untouched by their experiences. Pilgrims, on the other hand, invest time, talk and interest in the people they meet and allow themselves to be changed by their experiences. I am going to offer my listeners four suggestions for how they can be pilgrims rather than tourists.
My husband dave consults a map before we start hiking around Pompei
- Plan ahead. In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell says when on the threshold of a new adventure, we should consult allies like maps, music, artwork, books or people that point us in the right direction. We can plan ahead by learning about new places we will visit. We can plan ahead for the birth of a grandchild, a visit from friends or even for the journey of our own death.
Cycling with family around Lake Konstanz
- Enjoy the journey as much as your arrival at your destination. Gregory the Great, said, “do not avoid the journey, hastening to the arrival point, for the journey itself can be an occasion for growth.” I am trying to get a children’s book published. It is a long journey but I am enjoying the new people I am meeting and the things I am learning. It will have been a good experience whether I ever publish a book or not. One year we went on a bicycle trip around Lake Konstanz in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The journey was the whole point, not arriving at our final destination.
With a school principal in Cambodia, I got to know
- Make friends. Keenan Kelsey an American Presbyterian minister says, “Living participation is what separates the pilgrim from the tourist. The tourist remains an aloof observer as if they were at the theatre. They are never a part of the show.” Pilgrims make a point of interacting with people. They talk to those sitting next to them on a city bus, partnered with them on the golf course, or beside them on a tour. Many years ago I began to do this very deliberately and it has been transforming.
Sometimes I reflect on my experiences with sketches
- Reflect on your experience. Niebuhr wrote that pilgrims are poets who create after taking a journey. We aren’t all poets but as we journey through life some of us reflect on our experiences by writing songs or stories. Some people sketch or paint or get together to talk with others who have made similar journeys. One thing that helps me reflect on my life journey is keeping this blog.
With my Advanced Composition class in Hong Kong-Living and Working in China was a transformative experience for me
Walter R. Rossi says “tourists evaluate the success of a trip by how many different souvenirs they bring home and the number of places they can list as having visited. On life’s journey do some of us determine our success by how many things we accumulate and how many accomplishments we can list? Rossi says pilgrims deem a journey a success by the way it has transformed them as a person.
On the journey of life will you be a pilgrim or a tourist?
Crossing Abbey Road
Do Not Become Alarmed
Does She Have A Chance
We had dinner last night with Wilf and Karen. They have spent the last week in Lagos a six kilometer walk from Praia da Luz where we live, and so in the late afternoon we trekked in to Lagos to have dinner with them. Although we don’t get together with Wilf and Karen regularly back in Winnipeg, we are close friends with Wilf’s sister and her husband, and when we lived in a house trailer in Landmark early in our marriage, Wilf’s Dad was our landlord.
It is always great to spend time with fellow travelers and compare notes about what they have been seeing and doing. We went for dinner at Mare. It is a seafood restaurant right over the fish market in Lagos. So naturally we all had fish. I had the shrimp curry which was great and the others shared cataplana. A cataplana is actually a piece of cookware made of copper or aluminum and shaped kind of like a clam shell. Last night the cataplana’s at our table were filled with many different kinds of fish all cooked together.
Since it was cold and dark by the time our meal was finished we decided to take the bus home. Wilf and Karen waited at our stop with us and we carried on visiting till our bus arrived. We had a lovely evening with them.
I wonder which Winnipegers we will rendezvous with next in Portugal.
More Winnipeg Friends in Portugal
Coming All the Way to Portugal To Get To Know People From Our Church
A Reunion With Old Friends, Great Stories and Portuguese Wine
On Monday night we were to board a plane in Winnipeg at 8:50 in the evening, arrive in Calgary near midnight and then get on a flight to Liberia, Costa Rica arriving early Tuesday morning. Guess what? The plane never left Winnipeg. A problem with hydraulics. Although disappointed, my husband Dave always the pragmatist, said he was glad they had discovered the problem on the ground rather than in the air.
By the time another plane had been found and the rescheduled flight finally left for Calgary we weren’t on it. The cheery and efficient West Jet staff had found out the only way to get us to Costa Rica on Tuesday was to fly us to Toronto, then Atlanta and finally to Liberia. They paid for a lovely suite at the Sandman Hotel near the Winnipeg airport where we could enjoy a snack and a glass of wine in the restaurant before retiring.
Jazz pianist in the Atlanta airport
We had breakfast in the Toronto airport, supper in the Atlanta airport and landed in Costa Rica some fourteen hours later than we’d planned but it was still before midnight, when after a 90 minute van ride we arrived tired but ‘happy to have made it’ to the lovely little casa in Playa Grande that will be our home for the next week.
Now We’ve Been to Sister Cities
The World is Full of Interesting People