Over the past several days I have tried to write something about our upcoming pilgrimage along The Way of St. James. The result has been some frustration about what to write. Slowly the realization dawns that I am already in the experience of walking the pilgrimage. Yesterday we walked nearly seven miles with our loaded backpacks; and three-quarters of the trek was uphill against a quite vigorous wind. We had driven the pickup to the end of the planned hike, and then returned in the car to our start point. So the whole way along, we had no idea where the halfway mark was located. It was such a change from our normal walking away from the house and then walking back.
What it brought to mind is an important icon on our mantle. My last employer before I fully retired was a consulting company that had a contract with General Motors. Maritz, Inc., started out as a clock and watch-making company. When one reaches an employment milestone with the organization, he is given a time-keeping device. For five years’ service, the award is an hourglass.
I think everyone should receive an hourglass as an employment reward. It has taught me a great lesson. Life is about being inside that “pinch point,” the narrow neck between the upper and lower sand globes. The sand of each moment is all we can experience. There is no sense in trying to calculate how much sand remains to pass around us. It is even less practical to try to do anything about the sand that piles up below us–yet so many people spend time and emotional energy trying to arrange a better past.
I believe the best we can do is stand in the middle of life as it happens each moment. So, because I am already in the clutches of this grand adventure, I can’t see what I might be learning from it. My task–and my goal–for the next two months is to stay awake to each moment. When I have passed all the way through, I will be able to reflect on the journey. If I try doing that now, I will miss the unfolding.