Pilgrim or Nomad?

Rachel and I spent about 36 hours in Nacogdoches over the weekend.  We stayed with friends of ours – a great family I’ve known now for 18 years.

It feels wierd to think that I have had friends for so long. This month also marks my 20th anniversary of graduating from seminary.

I grew up in a navy family, then I became an itinerant minister. I have never lived in the same town for more tha 4 1/2 years. I tend to think of life in segments of 4 1/2 years or less.

But spending time with these friends now gives me a different perspective.  We met when they invited my daughter (then 2) to their oldest daughter’s 3rd birthday party.  Their daugther turned 21 last week.

Though I know not everyone is as mobile through their life as I have been, many people are even more so.  The notion of being deeply rooted in one place is mythic for most of us.

As you face living such a mobile life, do you feel nomadic, or do you feel like a pilgrim?  Do you see yourself wandering from place to place, from year to year, even from decade to decade with no sense of direction or purpose?

Spending a weekend with long-time friends has helped ground me in the peace of knowing that my life is truly going somewhere.  While I don’t know exactly where, visiting the last 18 years in memory and talking about directions we have now, I gained a perspective this weekend that is wonderful to ponder.

3 thoughts on “Pilgrim or Nomad?

  1. I feel like a nomadic pilgrim. i have those weird 41/2 year or less segments (like the era when our segments overlapped), but they all seem to relate in a Venn, better yet a helical (mclaren in “generous orthodoxy”) and emergent kind of way.

    church planting, however, has become a microcosm of all this. I have to stop and count how many locations our church has had in its eight-year history

    from a song you must know:
    “am i a pilgrim, or another souvenir hound?”

  2. We’ve lived in this community for 17 years now. In the same house for 10. Yet we are also on pilgrimage. Our destination is that holy city not made by hands!

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