Looking back, I see that I wrote the first blog about this pilgrimage one year ago next Monday. By happenstance, we land in Paris on the anniversary date. When I wrote that first post, this moment seemed to be far in the future. Yet here we are.
The thought comes to me that so many people express on the cusp of some important event: I’m not ready! Although I would not have admitted it at the time, I wasn’t ready to graduate high school and head off to college. My freshmen transcript memorializes that unpreparedness. I felt somewhat unprepared to spend my junior year in Florence, Italy. I wasn’t ready to be finished with college and facing down a regular full-time job teaching school. Two years later I was looking forward to getting married; but I wasn’t ready for it when it happened. I became a father while going through Ranger School, so I didn’t experience being a father until I returned from Vietnam. And I definitely wasn’t ready to go to Vietnam as an infantry lieutenant. In the past years, as I have sat with friends and neighbors who are dying, each of them mentioned not being ready to die.
And now, several things keep me from feeling “ready” for the pilgrimage. I wish I had lost a few more pounds that I will now have to carry. I could have taken a few more hikes with a loaded backpack. I am a little concerned about a sore knee that acts up for the first mile each morning. But, as I reflect on it, there is no way to be ready for life’s adventures. They happen when they happen; sometimes unexpected and usually with great impact on our lives.
I’m as ready as I ever will be. I never imagined taking this journey, but I have felt led to set off on it. I’m thrilled to be able to do it at the age of 69; and I’m excited to meet all our fellow travelers.
We’re off then…..
I will try to post our status on Facebook once in a while, when I find an internet cafe, Keep us in mind. We will be thinking of you along the way.