Well, I guess I was a bit premature in my desire for a fifteen mile trek this week. I still have a ways to go to earn that. But I did do ten miles around Freeman Lake today, limping in with some sore feet the last mile or so. Even with moleskin on the balls of my feet--they are just not tough enough yet. I have no complaints about my boots. They are great and do not rub anywhere. Ten miles is definitely a lot harder than five. "Duh!" as my youngest son would say. Not so young as of today, however. Alex is nineteen. My little boy.....We have pictures of him in his cadet blue uniform performing a color guard ceremony at the UK football game, looking every bit the Air Force lieutenant. But I digress.
I am always plugging in to my trusty mp3 player on my walks. At first I thought it was kind of cheating and I should be practicing being "in the Now" as a good pilgrim would. But I rationalized that there would be plenty of time for that on my real trek, so I savor the time where I can listen to uplifting music (such as Libera or Anonymous 4) and listen to downloaded podcasts. One of my favorites is Krista Tippett's "Speaking of Faith." She is a great interviewer of leaders of different faith traditions, and I just love the subject. (Inherited from my dad, the world religion professor, I guess.) Today I listened to an interview with Stephen Mitchell, a translator of many great sacred literatures and a poet in his own right. He wrote what he calls an improvisation on Psalm 4, which brought me to tears, it is so beautiful. Here it is:
Even in the midst of great pain,
Lord, I praise you for that which is.
I will not refuse this grief
Or close myself to this anguish.
Let shallow men pray for ease:
"Comfort us; shield us from sorrow."
I pray for whatever you send me,
And I ask to receive it as your gift.
You have put a joy in my heart
Greater than all the world's riches.
I lie down trusting the darkness,
For I know that even now you are here.
Truly, these are words for the pilgrim! I think I will tuck them in my backpack.