I can honesty admit to a handful of moving violations through the years. Nothing worse than speeding really. But I’m not one to live in the fast lane. And more than anything this pilgrimage has taught me one thing. Take the slow lane. Listen. Watch. Ponder. And ponder some more. And as I look back on the photos I’ve taken the last 2 weeks, I am even more awed by where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and what has happened in all those places to so many people before me.

HERE he was obedient to them

We are all tourists the first go-around. If we learn nothing from the experience, we continue to be tourists. Because tourists travel to see things, to feel things, to do things. And although they are awed and thrilled and satisfied for a moment, ultimately they remain unchanged. After the first time, we are pilgrims. Or rather, we can be pilgrims because we’re not in it to be entertained like we were the first time. Now we seek to encounter meaning and purpose and insight. We can be pilgrims as well the first time, but only if our purpose goes beyond entertaining our senses.

The table of Christ

I seldom watch a movie twice. But when I do, I’m no longer just in it for the story. Then I’m looking for deeper themes and new insight. I’m looking for understanding, for the unveiling of mystery, for something new to be revealed. If I can’t get past looking to be impressed or entertained or thrilled, which on occasion I find quite exhilarating, I discover that the momentary high passes, and I’m on the hunt once more to be impressed or entertained or thrilled yet again. But old formulas will need sprucing up. I don’t particularly like spicy food. But some people I know need to get to the next level every single time because the previous level of awesome is no longer as awesome anymore.

When first I went on pilgrimage, I was more drawn to go to new places to see new wonders and experience new things. Then I stumbled upon the difference between being a tourist and being a pilgrim. A tourist seeks entertainment for the eyes and flavors for the taste buds. Each time the high must be surpassed by an even greater high. And the pace has to pick up until the soul is spent and exhausted and numb.

A pilgrim seeks to encounter Mystery. And instead of speeding up, one must slow down because you will only see and hear and learn when you’re paying close attention. And paying close attention is hard work. Which can only happen when you take the slow lane. The slower the better. And when you encounter Mystery beyond your physical senses, the pilgrim does not return as he or she first set out. When the pilgrim encounters Mystery, nothing is ever the same again.

Life is a pilgrimage. Seek to encounter God in Mystery. Take the slow lane.

Rolo B Castillo © 2023