This is the third in a series of stories which have stirred my informed imagination about pilgrimage. Listening and loving are genuine marks of Jesus followers. We continue to LISTEN – with undistracted hearts and minds. LOVE – with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! “Teach me your way O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”  We continue our story of pilgrimage both mine and yours…
This pilgrimage from the beginning has caused me to depend upon the wisdom of our Guide who has a way about him in uncovering a new reality; that has been my personal experience anyway. Yet it has also been fascinating listening to others talk about a reversal in their own thinking. My own awareness of this trend towards a reversal in my thinking and living became clearer after a random conversation with another friend travelling along this same way.
A TIMELY CONVERSATION
“Good morning!” A voice from behind interrupted my distracted thoughts drifting away towards some unhelpful place. There was a certain air of authority in that greeting that was genuine. “Isn’t it just!” I responded half-heartedly. “Have you been on this pilgrimage long? she asked. Her voice, gently disturbed my own preoccupation with distracted thoughts. “Oh! I only recently started out.”
“Well, keep your eyes and ears open while travelling” she said. “The cross-winds of distraction are beguiling.” “Our Guide is wise, approachable, caring and you can interrupt Him at any time if uncertainty or distractions pull at your own choice to walk this pilgrimage.” I felt almost irritated that she was so positive but her attitude had reminded me of the need to go to our Guide should I need anything. I managed to summon a question for her. “What do you find special about him?”
Without hesitation she replied, “His focus, his consistency, his acceptance of me even when I am missing the mark.” She continued, “He seems to be on a mission and his devotion to that purpose is unwavering and infectious!” I just managed to summon a response, “Yes, I can see that in him.” And she was gone. That brief conversation was like a breath of fresh air although initially I found it almost intrusive. It occurred to me that she was far more focussed on the Guide than where she was going and I wanted to take a leaf out of her book.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT
As I reflected on our conversation my heart was strangely warmed and I felt deeply thankful that our conversation had taken place at the right time in my distracted place. I was reminded of a comment made by our Guide which started the work of reversal towards the Good News in my own thinking. “Are you listening to Me? “Really listening?”
We live in a place of relentless noise. Noise in our environment, noise in our heads. Noise that is unhelpful and distracting even on our pilgrimage. The result of this distracting noise is an inability to ‘hear’ our Guide clearly. In the ensuing chaos, our lives become absurd—a word we get from the Latin word ‘surdus,’ which means ‘deaf, inattentive, unresponsive!’
I heard the voice of our Guide at that very moment, crisp and clear, “Are you listening to Me?” “Really listening?”