Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sacred Journey

In September of this year I began participation in a program called Sacred Journey, hosted and facilitated by the Mercy Center in Burlingame.

The name of the program is kind of an insider’s joke between my Maker and I because The Sacred Journey is the title of an autobiographical book by my favorite author Frederick Buechner.
In Buechner’s introduction he admits that as he gets older (he was 50 when he wrote this, and is well into his 70’s by now) he nostalgically sorts through old letters and photographs to “look back on my life as a whole more.”

He holds out the possibility that “…you may in the privacy of the heart take out the album of your own life and search it for the people and places you have loved and learned from yourself, and for those moments in the past—many of them half forgotten—through which you glimpsed, however dimly and fleetingly, the sacredness of your own journey.”

I’m at the age where I have black and white baby pictures, full-color photos from childhood and young adulthood, and digital photos for the rest. So “taking out the album of [my] life” is a bit of a pain in the neck.

But the change in technology signifies the marching on of time. And I wouldn’t have understood this in my twenties, or my thirties, but as I push fifty I have the advantage of life experience. The advantage of perspective.

And with that perspective, when I am at Ocean Beach just before twilight, and there is a flaming sunset before me and a warm bonfire and laughing friends behind me, I recognize the sacredness. And when I have a deep heart-to-heart talk with a friend in which she is really hearing me and I am truly tracking with her, I recognize the sacredness. And when I read the New York Times on Sunday morning with Bach in the background, and suddenly “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” sounds like something I’ve never heard before, I recognize the sacredness.

Participating in this program is my attempt to recognize and honor the sacredness of my spiritual journey- which thankfully encompasses Ocean Beach, intimate friendship, Bach, and probably any number of things that will take me delightfully by surprise.