Watching the sunset over Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, we are 230 miles away from our summer home in Tiverton.
Why do we venture north when we could happily follow the well-beaten sandy path strewn with beach roses to the Sakonnet shore, filled with happy beach-goers?
It is because this pilgrimage provides something we cannot find there.
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while,” Jesus tells His disciples in Mark 6:31.
Consequently, I take this spiritual journey every midsummer. It feeds my soul, adding the missing ingredient to a full life.
Five-hundred years before Jesus was born, Lao-tzu in ancient China dictated the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way. Verse 29 says:
“Allow your life to unfold naturally. / Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. / Just as you breathe in and breathe out, / there is a time for being ahead / and a time for being behind; / a time for being in motion / and a time for being at rest; …
At an inn nestled in the White Mountains, I learned to walk, taking my first steps on the wrap-around porch into the waiting arms of my grandfather.
Throughout my life, this place has taught me important things, especially the need to get away from it all.
Sometimes you need to look up in awe, overshadowed by a majestic mountain of towering pines, and gaze at the tumbling waters rushing down a chasm in the cliffs.
We climb a mountain road, and there is a holy place on the summit. Inside the chapel, we sit on a wooden bench and notice the timbers in the post and beam construction, the glass wall that brings the forest within, a spectrum of colors in the window with the words: “Come follow me.”
“Here I am, Lord,” I pray.
At twilight, I watch from a distance as boats silently skim the lake, like fireflies flickering.
A single bird soars against the pink sky.
The mountains are spiritual sentinels encircling me and pointing to heaven.
As night descends, I realize there is not another human in sight.
Yet, I am not alone.
I sit in silence in the dark, caressed by the night wind, and feeling loved by the Creator.
That’s why He brought me here.