We are terrible at living in the present. This is the number one thing I learned on our pilgrimage to Chimayo New Mexico a few months ago.
We walked for four days and endured snow, rain, sleet, tears, and blood. We stayed for a total of two hours at our destination, the El Santuario de Chimayo, (a local shrine where a miraculous cross is said to have appeared over 200 years ago). Do the math, it doesn’t make much sense. But then you start thinking of the way we treat our lives, we realize that is just as baffling.
So much of our time is spent daydreaming and looking forward to the next thing or adventure coming our way. The thought of the weekend is the motivation people hang on to to get through the work or school week. The thought of summer or Christmas break is fresh in every student’s mind during a difficult semester. Future plans are not a bad thing, in fact, they can be very helpful in rough times. However, if we don’t learn to enjoy the present, our lives our going to be endless pursuits of future circumstances. The moment we reach the circumstance we have been dreaming of, we have to find a new one to consume the mind and drive us forward.
Walking along the country roads of northern New Mexico I got to encounter my fellow pilgrims. We talked, shared stories, laughed, and got to know each other on a whole new level. These moments were the true highlights of our mission trip. The Santuario was stunning and truly powerful, but the little moments taking in the beauty of the mountains and each other were the moments where our lives were transformed.
“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
Life is a pilgrimage and Heaven is our destination. When we forget where we are heading we have no direction and lose our way. When we forget about living in the present, we miss the joy of life. There is only one option to complete a pilgrimage: one step at a time.