7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.
This got me to thinking, what is a pilgrimage like?
Pilgrims are on a journey to a very specific destination. They don’t let any sort of hardship get in their way. They keep plodding forward no matter the sacrifice. They don’t complain about injury or hunger or thirst. They realize that it is all just a part of the journey. Nothing stops their progress but death.
Sometimes they travel with their family and friends, but often they must leave behind all they know, both people and places. They miss their family, wishing that they could be with them, and hoping that one day, they too will reach the holy site. But the excitement of the journey far outweighs any loneliness.
I have never made a pilgrimage, but the little bit of traveling I have done gives me a small sense for some of the feelings a pilgrim might experience. For instance, my daughter and I went to Paris for a week last spring.
First we had to sacrifice a bit on our spending at home so that we could afford expensive plane tickets and lodging at a safe hotel. We spent months studying guide books and researching activities, laws, routes, hospital locations, etc. online. We were able to talk with some friends who had just been to Paris the spring before, and learned tips from other friends who had visited years ago.
We tried not to talk too much about our excitement with those who weren’t going or hadn’t been, as we didn’t want to incite jealousy. Some people didn’t even know we were going until after we got back – so maybe we kept it a little too low key sometimes!
The journey was long and left us feeling physically ill. Operating in a foreign language was tiring. I was always just a little bit on edge for our safety, as terrorist attacks have become somewhat common there, and we are just two small women. We missed family and friends a little. But the joy of being there and experiencing things we had never experienced before far outweighed any discomforts.
We would go back there in a heartbeat! We loved our “pilgrimage”.
May I be a pilgrim here in my everyday, too.