This blog is a journey of self-discovery in which I bring you, the reader, along with me on my pilgrimage. It’s a chance for me to share with you some of my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned. There are times I will be brutally honest about who I am.
My struggles. My opinions. My shortcomings. My issues. My thoughts. My faith. Perhaps not every bit of what I say in these posts will be directly relevant to you. Neither can I promise that I’ll always have the most insightful thing to say. Some things may even offend you. Hopefully, though, at some point I will say something that will resonate with you, something that will make you think. If I can do that, even on occasion, I’ll be able to say I’ve achieved a level of success. At times, I will fail, but Lord willing, I’ll fail well.
First, Pilgrim. Like many Americans, I first heard the word ‘pilgrim’ in school while learning about those who came to the New World on the Mayflower. They left the homes they knew to find something better. For many years, ‘pilgrim’ stayed in my mind as this, merely a word used to describe some group of people who did something that the history books forced me to learn. Sure, the pilgrims were brave, but apart from a passing thought around Thanksgiving, I didn’t think much about them.
The meaning of this word changed drastically for me in 2014. On July 15 of that year, I boarded a plane that would eventually take me to the Camino de Santiago. It was there that I learned to be a pilgrim myself. Read more about my experience on the Camino here.
Shelter comes from a take on Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri. If you aren’t familiar with it, L’Abri is a community in Switzerland founded in 1955 by Francis and Edith Schaeffer. It’s still going today. In short, it’s a place where people come to live and discuss faith and ideas and life while living in community. You can read more about it at the L’Abri website.
More than just L’Abri’s influence though, there is the idea of a safe place for me to come to communicate my thoughts, to share my ideas about faith, life, travel, and more. It’s a place where I can express myself through writing and photography.
Shelter describes this blog, but, for me, it also describes writing itself. I come to the process of writing to try to make sense of the world around me. This blog provides me with a forum to share what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned. Writing here is a very personal exercise for me. Although it’s likely apocryphal, a quote that is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway comes to mind: “Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” While I’m not exactly bleeding on my keyboard, I am sharing some intensely personal thoughts, words, photos, lessons, and memories. Every time I publish something here, I’m actively embracing this site as a shelter.
Each of us thinks and sees the world based on a combination of the things we believe and the way those beliefs interact with our experiences. There are a myriad of guides that inform my thinking, and so, on occasion, I’ll refer to other writers, artists, musicians, etc. who have helped to shape my worldview. However, my thoughts, and thus my words here, are primarily based on my Biblical faith and my experience. I won’t apologize for either. To do so would be to apologize for who God made me to be, and that’s not something I’m going to do.
I wonder often, “What does it mean to be a pilgrim?” I’m still learning. That’s the thing about a pilgrimage: the path is winding, and the one walking it isn’t always aware of the exact direction.
What I can say is that, for some time, I’ve been searching. I’ve been looking for Truth where it can be found, and I’ll continue to do so. I don’t ever want to stop the quest. Wherever my search may lead, I’ll go.
I invite you to come along and walk this pilgrimage with me.
Follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PilgrimShelter/
Contact me at Pilgrim.Brett@gmail.com