For years I have been challenged with the notion that ultimately, the pilgrimage calls us to return home and live forward on behalf of something other and greater than ourselves. This idea that the road out actually causes us to be beholden to something back home is a critical aspect of the becoming that this rites of passage initiates.For our lives to truly reincorporate and reflect the stories of our journeys there must be effects behind and beyond our front doors; if there isn’t, the travels and travails of the road quickly get reduced to petty ramblings and narcissistic knock abouts.
Ultimately, the greatest influence we can have on ourselves, our families, and the world around us is to live out the wizened effects of our sacred journey on behalf of the Other and the Future.
This notion’s simplicity allows for a focus of energy around a transformed state. When Joseph Campbell talks about a “wisdom and power to serve others” on account of our wayfaring, he is getting at a fundamental aspect of the gift of pilgrimage. We go out on these personal, intimate soul-adventures to connect to the sacred in fresh, inspired ways. However, if these encounters aren’t having a greater result on the world around us, they are worthless. I believe that by applying our gained wisdom on behalf of the Other and the Future, we are re-gifting our communities and the earth with our God-given wisdom developed on the journey.
Living on behalf of the Other and the Future is a scalable metaphor; that is, it may refer to simply anyone or anything other than yourself and decisions that impact the future. In broader, and more challenging terms, “the Other and the Future” is a way of embracing all of life, especially those that are without voice and marginalized in society, and intentionally orienting lifestyle decisions that will have flourishing outcomes on our earth, the more-than-human world, and future generations. As a result, our personal sacred journey is global in both scope and impact, and we are invited to transformative micro-practices that overhaul how we view our homes and home environments.
Our return home requires us to leave the door open to the wild world beyond its threshold, maintaining the now-understood posture and practice of interrelatedness and solidarity.