Day 8 Sunday, July 17 Unity to Ontario, OR 71 miles
It was as if I had never left Portland. Not knowing until mid-afternoon just how far I might travel today I called the home of Bill and Barbara (brother and sister-in-law of “Tub”, one of the members at Eastminster). I have a handful of relatives and friends of Eastminster members listed in various places along my pilgrimage route, although most of them are in Oregon and I will leave the state tomorrow. I asked Barbara if they either had room in their yard for a tent or if they knew of camping areas close by. I was still about 20 miles from their home. Barbara said, “Well you know Tub is here right now!”
I left last last Sunday saying what I expected to be goodbyes for the remainder of the summer to my church family. What a surprise to both Tub and me that we were able to connect 400 miles from home with no advance planning. I joined his extended family for a dinner where they went through family pictures and worked at piecing together their geneology. We had a great dinner, fun conversation and it was no different than what I might have experienced on an evening in Portland.
This has been the surprise of the trip for me. The most uncertain part of my traveling has been where I will spend the night each night. When I left Portland I told folks that I didn’t think I would be able to plan more than about 2-3 days out. As it turns out most of my planning is done during the early afternoon for that same night. I didn’t anticipate this, but it has felt like the right way to approach this pilgrimage.
One of the things that I really don’t want to have happen is to have a schedule determining the pacing of my days. I don’t want to have a day when my legs are just shot or my soul just needs rest and feel like I have to ride another 25 miles just because I promised someone I would be there at a certain time and day. Actually this is a little hard for me. I am a Day-Timer person and I schedule just about everything into my life. I have a really hard time not honoring my scheduled commitments. I also don’t want to feel like I have to stop if I am feeling especially good, a tailwind is carrying me lightly over the road, and a further destination is calling me.
I really want to honor the pacing of my soul on this trip. Do I need to push hard today or allow some slow grace into my life? The cost is that I never know just where I am going to lay my head at night until just hours before I arrive. I suppose that should give me cause for concern. But, so far I have always found a safe place to sleep. The best part is that I am meeting people and having conversations that just wouldn’t have happened if I had my itinerary all planned out.
The whole trip has been a litany of surprises. Most of the surprises have been meeting new people. Tonight the surprise was having a buddy talk to me on the other end of the line.
It’s a wonderful gift to be able to let my soul determine the pacing of the trip. It also is fraught with some uncertainty. But, good things are happening in this space of daily uncertainty. Maybe this is where God has the most room to work. Hmmm….I might be on to something here. Sorry Day-Timer, we are going to have to talk whenI get back!