Timing is everything. When the perfect opportunity comes at a point in our life and we can take advantage of it, sparks fly. Such was the way with the pilgrimage I recently went on with my daughter, Lisa.
When Lisa, invited me to accompany her on a two-week pilgrimage to Israel and Italy, I realized that the timing for me to make such a journey was now or never. It was the first time in decades that responsibilities did not ground me. I was free to travel the distance and the time frame required was doable.
Plus, it was a trip I could utilize on multiple levels. I would have time and a shared, memorable experience with my daughter. The opportunity to tangibly connect with my faith visiting sites of significant importance would be spiritually enriching. And I’d acquire a plethora of information and photos to utilize in my writing.
I also realized that I’m at my physical limit for the hectic pace and endurance needed for such an endeavor. This was a two-week, two-country trip with a very full schedule, and the terrain and temperatures in Israel would be demanding. The number of health issues that I have would be taxed to their limit. I prayed for direction on whether or not I should take this trip, and finally believed God would grant me the strength needed.
My suggestions for others considering pilgrimages is to carefully consider what that particular one entails and honestly pair it with your capabilities. Choose a pilgrimage that matches the amount of time and physical endurance you believe you can complete.
Although I don’t know the health of the other pilgrims on our pilgrimage, I do know that there were a number who were older than me, one of whom was 80. Some of them sat out much or parts of the trip when there were opportunities to do so. But often, this was not possible. We had to keep going no matter how hot or how steep and rugged the path.
In spite of some very painful days and nights, I’m grateful I was able to push through and enjoy. Like many previous travelers to Israel have told me, the experience was life-changing. I’m very grateful for the rich blessing of this pilgrimage.
(Read more about aging and spirituality in Young in the Spirit.
Have you seen my post, Jerusalem. City of Sensual Overload, on my other blog? )