When you were born you joined a wagon train.  The train has been traveling for a long time and after you die it will continue moving.

At night when you sleep, or during the day at moments of stillness, you are completely involved in the journey.  At other times you become so concerned with petty things that you lose track of the journey.  Yet you never completely forget.  You were born to make this journey and it is only in this venture that your soul will find true rest.

You are a pilgrim.  Perhaps there is some destination for this wagon train, but you will never know it.  Learn from an apple tree.  This tree may be a chapter in a story leading to some entirely new type of tree.  But it is enough for this tree to be itself, to go through the cycles of the seasons, to live and to die.  So it is for you.  The destination is the pilgrimage itself.  Here is where you will live and die.

Each generation loses a little more awareness of the journey.  The baby carried on her mother’s back knew that stillness and movement go together.  But you have forgotten stillness.  A child listening to a river knew that the river goes ever on.  But you have forgotten how to listen.

You and your brothers and sisters have wasted your time in being successful.  At times you have pulled the wagon train over and just laid around doing nothing.  You make a virtue of vices.  You seek ways to avoid work and as a result, you grow limp and flabby.  Then you complain that life is dull and meaningless.  You try to amuse yourself by pouring your vital energy into unimportant things.  Your worst offense is that you make life more difficult for those who one day will take your place.  You focus your attention on how your children can affect you.  By your example, you should be helping them to find their relationship to the wagon train and to the journey.

So get on your feet and get moving.  The longer you lie around the harder it is to get up.  There will be problems, but they can only be resolved when you are moving in the rhythm of the journey.  If you stop to handle a problem you become the problem.

Keep moving.  Look at what is around you.  Give up your petty desires and goals.  Empty out.  Keep moving.  You will feel your strength return.

You sometimes act as if you were carrying the torch out to the great unknown.  You are wrong.  Others have carried the torch out.  Now you are carrying it back.  You are returning.  Accept your homeless home.  Give up any other ideas.  You are not a stranger in a foreign place.  There is no place that is more your home than where you are now.  You are a stranger in our own homeland.  The earth beneath you knows you.  Heaven above you knows you.  All that is around you is welcoming you.  There should be no strangers here.  You and the grass are one.  You and the bird are one.  You and the path are one.  You and the wagon train are one.  You and the rhythm are one.

You are the pilgrimage.  The pilgrimage is you.

The final essay, Notes From The Songs Of Life, A spiritual companion by Tolbert McCarroll


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