We are Pilgrims Here

170px-Carlo_Crivelli_064Last night as I joined with fellow classmates in the Jubilee Spiritual Formation for our second residency in a three year journey together I heard a wonderful story about the scallop shell and for me it set the tone for the week.

The scallop shell has become the symbol for Pilgrims and it has to do with St.James being buried in Spain if you want to know more.  Apparently the saint’s body was being shipped t170px-Muszla_Jakuba.svg (1)o Spain and a storm washed the casket overboard. It then found it’s way to shore but was covered with scallop shells.

Now many people make their way to the site of his burial at Camino and place a shell on the steps of the cathedral.  On the journey the shell can be a useful tool.  It can scoop food or water and be used to dig if it is needed. On the back of the shell is a pattern of ridges.  There are several lines which start from the outer edge and then converge at one point near the spine of the shell.  This is indicative of the pilgrim journey.  We come from different places and take different paths but we all find our way to a single place.

This was day one part two of the journey of Jubilee.  I met this wonderful group of people a year ago.  We learn, laugh, are silent and sometimes cry together.  Each comes from a different place.  Each has a path of their own yet we all walk toward one goal, one centre, one drawing point.

Some of us call that point God, others creator, others may say universe while others may not have a name for that unifying force which makes our hearts want to seek deeper things and our spirits soar to places even our hearts cannot imagine.

I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as a pilgrim before.  Unfortunately, in North America, the name brings to mind black garments on white folk feeding on turkey at Native tables.  It has some questionable connotations and a sketchy past but today I have a new and improved perspective of the word and will happily take on the name of pilgrim.

I suppose, in many ways I have always been a pilgrim.  I have been seeking for many years, the heart and desire of the creator.  While I fail miserably, on a daily basis, to emanate the ideals of faith at least I’m still trying.  When I stop failing I suppose I will have stopped trying so for now I will remain the pilgrim.

(More on the Camino de Santiago.)


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (www.riverofhopeenterprises.com), I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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