Hoofprints of the Stag

Hoofprints of the Stag

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

At the Airport: A Reflection

Okay, so this post was composed yesterday morning, but because of annoying wifi, I couldn't post till today. I am in Paris! Actually, now I am in Toul, where we are starting. But her is the post from two days ago. 

Right now, I am at Portland International Airport waiting for my flight to Paris. As I wait, I am thinking about the last few weeks leading up to this point. It has been a whirlwind of excitement to say the least. I spent my time cleaning and setting up my classroom and office, but I also spent time with friends in Salt Lake, and in particular going to the wedding of two of my teacher friends. During my day in Portland, I saw many old friends and sang in a Latin Mass said by my old spiritual director from Portland, among many other things. 

What this means is that I did not get as much of the extra things done for this trip as I had planned. As I prepare to leave this morning, it's a little disappointing to think of. I did not finish my Little Office of the Pilgrim. Though I did get my prayer translated into German properly, I did not finish the translation to Italian or French, nor did I print out holy cards with the German prayer, and I am already almost out of the English prayer cards. I hope that those to whom I gave them are fervently praying, wink, wink. Also, I was not able to pick up some last minute supplies nor finish a few of the books that I wanted to. I did not make any list of poems, though perhaps I may find a poem app. I do have various prayers on my phone at least. 

I list these failures because what I have been thinking about this morning is how most of that stuff doesn't really matter. They are things that would be nice, but in a way, not being able to do those things means I have to put more of my reliance on God. It's a humbling sort of thing, and I think I'm being prepared for a trip filled with many opportunities for humility. I have to give my pilgrimage over to God rather than trying to have a lot of control over it. 

But in the meantime, I grow increasingly more excited as I think about what I am about to do. It is very easy to make Lord of the Rings references and comparisons (and indeed that is a very exciting prospect), but what is even more thrilling is that I am actually embarking on a real journey made by a real man, not a fictitious invention. I enjoy learning about Elvish, but French and Chinese and Greek fascinate me more because they have their origins in the real world. 

On the other hand, the fact that one man can create so complex a thing is truly remarkable. I love Elvish precisely because it was invented. A new world can be created by one man, and we all may share in it. This is how I feel when I read Belloc; I feel that he has created this thing that I may partake in. When I read the chronicle of his Path to Rome, I feel that I am there with him. And now I am taking part in an even more real sense, and those who read about Ed and me will also be participating with us. This is why writing the prayer and giving out the cards is so important to me. I want people to be a part of our journey through prayer. They pray for us and we pray for them. Ed and I are more like emissaries than individual travelers. We go on behalf of those we temporarily leave. 

It is amazing what being on a plane will do to my ability to muse. If I do not keep this post in check, I may go on and on. My ability to type on the keyboard of this iPod Touch is greatly improving. 

I am going to bring this post to a close, but I am certain that I will begin another on my subsequent flight. I go from Portland to Philadelphia, and from there to Paris. Someone asked me what flight carrier I have. It is US Airways, which I think this person looked down upon. At any rate, I am very sad that I don't get any Delta Cookies. Humility, humility, humility. 

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