PSALM OF JOURNEYING TOGETHER
A reflection on starting, continuing and ending a trek. What it might mean for an older person's slower progress, and how it relates to what Dag Hammarsjold called "the journey inwards."
- At the start, it's only the journey that matters:
just to be on the move creates the excitement;
- I need to keep moving to be making progress:
dreams and possibilities make the travelling worth while.
- But an older person wants things to remain as they were:
an ancient culture strives to conserve the status quo,
- for looking back stirs memories of glory:
history's more exciting than the threat of something new.
- On the journey inwards it's God who moves us forward:
tradition can give me the start that I need,
- for you are the journey we travel:
you are the goal to which I aspire.
- Later, it's novelty that motivates us:
each day there must be something different;
- every step brings the chance of a new experience:
round the corner is something I've never seen before.
- But an older person likes to return to well-known places:
there's comfort in seeing the same people over again;
- a relationship depends on repeating successful outings:
to be together is more interesting than doing something fresh.
- On the journey inwards you too have walked my path:
you bring from your treasures things old and new;
- your presence sustains me in all I have to face:
you are in us now, as once you were with your friends on earth.
- Finally to complete the journey is our primary aim:
to have finished what we had decided to do -
- never mind the way we go:
stopping and taking notice will only delay.
- But an older person needs to take a rest:
to stop and stare is central to any pilgrimage;
- what is life if there's no time for contemplation:
we need strength to continue and space to consider where we are.
- On the journey inwards, I need time to reach beyond time:
give us your spirit and power to continue faithful to the end,
- for the last may be the hardest part:
I need your strength and hope for the final ascent.