Pilgrim, See Your Path

trail sign

Today, imagine a long, thin trail ahead of you.

You see it disappear down distant hills, only to reappear on even more distant hilltops.

This trail wanders to the left and then turns back on itself.

It weaves over bare fields, down the Main Streets of small towns.

It works its way through tall trees in one spot, tall buildings in another.

In some places, the trail is dotted with many other pilgrims. Some talk to you with friendliness and excitement; others remain to themselves, walking slowly and with sorrow.

Your path stops beside a fierce river, offering a fragile rope bridge across it.

Your path seems to end at a massive stadium, filled with noise and movement, and there you must find a seat and observe what is happening around you.

Your path leads out of the stadium then, and through the city. It leads to the door of a modest apartment, and in there you meet an old friend.

Along with the friend are four strangers, and now you introduce yourselves.

Then, the trail resumes, out the back door and down, down a valley, toward a city along the ocean.

You notice that the trail forks, and you have choices to make. To the ocean or the mountains? Toward crowds or solitude?

Where will you go, and why?

Most important, turn to see the companion with you. What does your companion say?

What do the two of you decide?

About Vinita Hampton Wright 164 Articles
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

9 Comments on Pilgrim, See Your Path

  1. Thank you Vinita,
    What a wonder filled journey. Just a snippet of it, the friend was an old college friend, who though an unbeliever taught me much about reflective thinking. The four strangers were Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father and my Guardian Angel, all of whom I have allowed to become strangers over the last few months as I have tussled with a problem.
    Guided by my companion, the Holy Spirit, I chose the mountains, the Ocean beckoned and would have been the easier path. But once reaching there it would have been the end of the journey, and I would have been stuck, wandering up and down the beach. The mountains, however, would be a struggle, but would lead me to new vistas and discoveries every day.
    Thank you and God bless.

  2. Crowds or Solitude? Just woke from a 12 hour sleep. Thought I’d just take a quick nap at 5pm. Next thing I know it is 6 am. Never happened before. 12 hours! Now at prayer (examen) asking what am I most grateful for yesterday. REST! Thanks for this gift. Unexpected gift of a 12 hour rest. And the chance to see it as part of my own pilgrimage.

  3. Thank you Vinita. This is perfect as I leave on Monday for a tour of our national Parks. It will be very different than my pilgrimage on the Camino 2 years ago but am so looking forward to seeing this beautiful God given land that we are privileged to call home .

  4. Interesting Vinita !
    My immediate response is mountains and solitude. I’ve a feeling my companion would agree, accepting my assertiveness!
    However, my personal wishes would be overtaken by a more secure, responsible and sensible view…
    So factually, I’d follow the crowds, thinking it’s the safer option, and later regret it!

  5. How apt this article is today! Currently on holiday near Mount Olympus in Greece. We have just st come back from the beach. Ocean always my favourite choice but with the mountain at our feet we must GOD willing, do a trail tomorrow. ( We didn’t get too much quiet at the beach as a lady talked incessantly to her companions😊

  6. Thank you very much. I loved the whole of what you wrote and the last two sentences hit me right in the heart, in the same way that talking to my Jesuit spiritual director and dear friend of 40+ years, over the phone now, since he’s on the East Coast and I’m in the Midwest, does. What an important reminder, the “most important “ as you say to “see” The Companion and to listen to what The Companion has to say!

  7. Vinita,
    Your reflection is wonderfully inspiring. You write so beautifully with enriching themes which are so thought-provoking. Thank you.
    I must research your previously published books. Have you had a published book that contains your reflections such as the fantastic one above?
    Patrick(Pat) Brennan – North East England.

    • You might try The Soul Tells a Story (InterVarsity Press) or Days of Deepening Friendship (Loyola Press).

      Glad you enjoyed the reflection! Peace to you.
      Vinita

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