During our “hill walking” yesterday, as we slogged through the 63rd boggy, muddy area that seemed to jump out at us from the heather on the hillside, I thought of Christian, in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and his journey through the Slough of Despond: “…they drew nigh to a very miry slough or swamp, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt;”
We were grievously bedaubed with dirt. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of it. The 35 mph winds at the top of the “hill” and the driving cold rain coming out of the west, took something out of this photographer.
On the wild descent, as we fell into the peat bogs, I did wonder that we and others pay for this privilege of being guided to the top of a great hill and down again. Not sure if I would call it fun but it certainly was an adventure! (And the students were great sports!)
Why do we seek after such adventures with their challenges and risks? In the 21st century we could say that those of us fortunate enough to afford such activities may be a wee bit bored by our everyday life. We seek variety and thrills in more natural settings. Other students with us went white water rafting and gorge scrambling — I’ll leave that to your imagination!
Pilgrims of other ages had various motivations for going on pilgrimage. Some were no doubt devout men and women seeking after God. But others were probably looking for a change of pace from daily life, a respite from routine.
Whatever the motivation God’s grace can break in and surprise us all!
Next stop is Lindisfarne or the Holy Island.