Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ignorant Pilgrim

If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line – starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led – make of it what you will. (133, Jayber Crow)

Wendell Berry is a poetic lyricist. His novel, Jayber Crow, has really been speaking the language of my current life travels. It’s been refreshing to journey along side Jayber even though our paths are from different time periods (not to mention one is a fictional tale). I really enjoy the illustrative metaphor of a pilgrim as to how one lives their life, always on a journey. My pilgrimage is one that has been through those valleys, hilltops, and everything in between. In a way I can righly describe my own pilgrimage as ignorant. Many times I have avoided the straight path as Berry describes and have walked in circles or doubled back. Other times I not known where I was going until I was already at my destination. My dreams and desires have come to rest on mistakes and mishaps. My life's path has come to me or either I to it, with much surprise, anxiety, grace, and waywardness. But as Berry pens, I have this uneasy feeling that I have been led throughout it all.