ON TRIPS & PILGRIMAGES
What are the trips that made you who you are?
Traveling is a basic image of our condition as homo viator or pilgrims. Trips are like rites of passage because they involve a liminal stage between leaving and arriving. In this liminal stage we can reflect on the past and prepare for the future. Everybody goes through “passages,” like:
- getting married and settling in one's own home
- family trips (me: the Liberty Bell, national parks. What about you?)
- discovery trips (me: coming to the US. What about you?)
- endurance trips (martial arts. What about you?)
- intellectual explorations (pastoral sociology. What about you?)
- cultural explorations (web technologies. What about you?)
- pilgrimages (the Holy Land. What about you?)
- religious explorations (American Evangelicals,. What about you?)
- retirement to complete one’s unfinished explorations
- the trip of no return: grieving for and with others
Traveling is a basic metaphor. To reach the top of Mt. Taishan one has to climb about 4,000 steps . If I had seen the picture on the left before leaving, I would not have gone there, but taking one step at a time made it possible. If it is true that many or most people fall off the ladder to heaven as in the picture on the right, one may easily give up. Taking one step at a time makes climbing possible.
Life is a pilgrimage with many adventures. To stay in one's little nest is comfortable and to fly away is dangerous. One step at a time makes everything possible.