I loved the film The Way. A pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is wonderfully revealed through stunning scenery and superb craftsmanship. I’m always in for a movie that transports me abroad but this film is more. It’s an inspiring account of finding our way, despite the burdens we carry en route. Because we all carry something, don’t we?
“You don’t choose a life, you live one.”
As this story suggests, we find our way because of, rather than in spite of, our burdens. What we carry, how much we carry, and how we carry it, helps to set our coordinates. I’ve so many rich experiences closely tied to my “burdens” — immature and insecure in marriage and motherhood, extended time as a non-traditional student, working out a north country farm life, living with financial struggles, health crises, family dysfunctions, career pressures. Now I am in that unique “middle place” where our parents and their siblings age and leave us behind … just as our children are establishing their own lives and, hopefully, beginning to raise families. Responsibilities seem heaviest here.
It sure has been a journey! And there has been much joy. But life is not fair. This day (or this decade) my burdens may be either heavier or lighter than another. Perhaps I cannot do much about that. But I can determine to give generously, to learn sincerely, and to love deeply along the way. I hope time will prove me faithful.
And although I might like to think I can go it alone — once upon a time I believed: I don’t need anyone! — time has already proven otherwise. In truth, it is a much more satisfying journey in tandem. My journey might even become too much for me, if not for your support.
Sometimes the way is dim or my load seems too heavy. Especially then, I must keep faith that I belong here, right here. On this path, in this place, living this life. My steps may become slow and sluggish, my knees weak. I may need to offload my pack, catch my breath, rest my back. The bounce in your step, the brightness in your smile, the warmth in your embrace, encourages me most on those days.
I’m so glad we’re walking this way together.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)