We have crossed a threshold. Tonight marks the halfway point of our Pilgrimage, having put six days behind us with six more ahead. This afternoon, we crossed from Massachusetts into New Hampshire, the border demarcated by an unassuming stone tablet. Searching deeper, a feeling grips us tonight that we have entered a new phase of our journey, pushed beyond a tipping point now that so many of our walkers have had to return to the patterns of regular life.
As Meg put it this evening in a time of spontaneous contemplation, “the streams of others have had to part from ours.” Though we may have spent as few as 24 or 48 hours together, we have come to love and hold them tight in a unique community, a group built together that feels not just empowering, but also necessary for us to engage soulfully in this work. We think of Rob running for maple water through the woods and of Jacob climbing pines, of ecstatic dancing in fields and contagious yawning sessions, of ideas exchanged and hearts opened, of presences still felt.
The departure of those who have become beloved to us feels for me as like handfuls of bread torn apart from their loaf. Our wholeness has been split, breaking apart pieces of what we have crafted together, an act of disruption necessary, but more than a little crumby. At the end of our impromptu evening worship, we all joined hands, and I felt our community was making itself whole anew. With our palms soft and warm as dough, we made ourselves ready to be shaped into a new community, ready to rise fresh tomorrow morning.
We remaining pilgrims wrestle now with holding our palms open and not grasping. The absence of friends weighs on us like a millstone. Ours hearts ache for Karen and Katherine, Rob and Morgan, Jacob and Satoru, Lauren and Maple and Jess, and all the others who have travelled with us, be it for days or a few hours.
Honoring their time with us, we now put our hands to kneading a new group, as we must continue to do each coming day of this pilgrimage. And we look with gleaming anticipation to those who have left with hopes to rejoin us, to Sue and Ben, Tessa and Bruce. And this touches on what, for me, is the core of faith: not merely hoping, but fully knowing that somehow the streams of all our lives will soon be poured into the same cup again.
Our overflowing compassion for all those that have walked with us and as us. We cannot wait to see you again.