Being with the same group of people for 10 days is not easy. You get sick of each other, and someone is usually unintentionally doing something that makes you mad. But there's also something special about being with the same group of people for 10 days. You get to know them in a more intimate way than you do when seeing them at church or in passing. I knew most of the people on the pilgrimage before I went but afterwards, I realized how much I had learned about everyone in our group-even those I thought I had down pat. People will surprise you. While on the pilgrimage I had time to talk to everyone in our group. People had time to share things, about their lives, about what they believe, things they love, things they fear. Spending 10 days walking, praying, and learning with a group of people allowed me to get to know everyone in a much closer way than I ever thought I would. I am grateful for that.
The trip was only 10 days. 10 short days. Yet it felt like years. Time slowed down. Maybe it was because we walked everywhere, maybe it was because we took time out of every day to pray, maybe it was all the sites we got to see. Time dragged on. And it was nice. It was nice to have things slow down, to be able to look around and really take in what was around me and the amazing things I was seeing. I loved having 2 or 3 hours to walk around and explore. Or when our group would sit in a circle and share our high and lows, reflecting on that day and the days to come. Time slowed down during this trip, and I am grateful for that.
During our time spent in reflection, or prayer, I learned not only the importance of this act, but different ways I can reflect on myself, my life and my relationship with God. We learned different ways to pray, received a prayer book, and each day were asked different questions that prodded us to think deeper about our lives. I learned the power of praying every day, even if it's short and sweet. I am grateful for that.
I say I only learned 3 things on the pilgrimage, but I learned much more than just 3 things. I could write a 10 page paper on the positive impact the pilgrimage had on my life, how much I grew and how much I learned on that journey. The sights we got to see were breath taking and everyone on that trip made the experience worthwhile. And for that, I am grateful.