Day 28 Saturday, August 6 Casper Rest Day 0 miles
I didn’t realize how much I needed this rest day today until I allowed myself the permission to have it. I woke actually feeling a little sick to my stomach. It might have been due to some dehydration as that has been a constant strugge since entering Wyoming. But, it felt more like the jitters that one gets when one has partied too many days in a row and hasn’t allowed the body to rest (not that I know what that is like!). I was very slow getting into the day for which I suppose I shouldn’t feel a need to apologize. It took me fully until the early afternoon to really feel alert and able to think about what I needed to do on this rest day.
One of the things I needed to do was to get some more cash. I haven’t seen a Bank of America since Oregon so I chose one of the many local banks in downtown Casper. I apparently was not yet completely alert as I left my debit card in the ATM machine. The next two hours were spent on the phone with Bank of America figuring out how to get me money and/or a new card while biking between towns where banks don’t even bother to build. We eventually figured it out. All I have to do is get to Loveland and a new card should be waiting for me at a friend’s house. But, geez…if I’d only found a coffee place before 10 a.m. this probably could have been avoided! BTW…I did buy a new phone in Thermopolis as my old one definitely did drown.
Besides taking care of a number of logistical issues and allowing myself to slow down today the one thing I began to notice is that I am showing some signs of wanting to connect with people and the world again. With the exception of my blogging I went into almost complete solitude the first two or so weeks. I even had friends in crisis and I simply was not able to reach out to them. I had fallen deeply into myself and this world around me. I devour the Oregonian every morning before leaving for the church office and I do it religiously. I remember the first morning waking up at my host’s house in Silverton. They were wonderful hosts and one of the things they had added to their home was an outside speaker for the radio and music. As I awoke, the morning news on NPR was playing and I had a visceral reaction. I simply could not digest another tidbit of news about the world. I had left in order to listen to my own voice, my own soul, my own songs. And there I was treated to NPR as if nothing had changed in my life (My issue, not yours Rod and Laura!)
Tonight I almost went to a movie. I chose a busier, noisier restaurant over a more subdued and quiet sushi bar. I emailed a few people. I wrote a little bit of correspondence. I made contact with potential hosts for the next week or so. This is all new since I embarked on this pilgrimage. Up until recently I couldn’t get enough solitude. I wrote in a post a few days ago that I imagined that as I made the turn toward Colorado that I might experience a shift. As I headed east I have felt very much like I have been “leaving home”. That is still there, yet small signs are appearing that I may be ready to start “coming home”. I didn’t go to the movie tonight. But, just the fact that I contemplated it for a bit was a sign that my need for solitude is waning and my need to connect with the world is beginning to return.
Home has been an important and intentional theme on this pilgrimage. I have visited the campus of the College of Idaho in Caldwell. I passed through Boise where Lisa (my ex-wife) and I lived for a very short time. I returned to Bozeman, MT, the place of my birth and the first years of my life. I breezed through Thermopolis, WY where I stayed with relatives after my father and mother divorced while I was young. Next, I go to Loveland, CO which has more home written into it than any other place. This is where I grew up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Pilgrimages about returning to the home of your faith tradition. In this current climate of personal spiritual formation, home is also about returning to the people, places and events that have shaped who we have become.
So, I am very much contemplating home. I am contemplating home in this time when the Church is in such transition. I am contemplating the meaning of home following a divorce after 25 years of marriage. I am thinking about what home means with my own faith and spiritual values and my role as a minister. I am allowing for home to come to me rather than trying to create it. I have intentionally chosen a pilgrimage that is circular rather than linear. It is a leaving and a returning. It is interesting that as I have honored the solitude that I sorely needed and have allowed myself to leave home that I am now beginning to reconnect with the people who are important in my life. Not yet half way on this pilgrimage I am somewhere between leaving home and coming home.
T.S. Eliot’s quote (reminded by poster, Kathy) has become a daily prayer, hope, and mirror for my journey:
We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.