What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs…They will continue to grow stronger…
Psalm 84:5-7a NLT
My first pilgrimage was to Assisi, Italy. The weather was hot and I had all that I needed in a small rucksack. This journey to the home of my pilgrimage for five days focused on exploring the locations that had forged St Francis and inspired a movement of prayer and mission. I decided to arrive by walking the three miles from Assisi rail station up into the medieval city. I had not bargained on the effect of the summer heat as I climbed toward the main city square. I had consumed all my water by the time I reached the city gate, so I stopped at several water fountains, filled my hat and poured the welcome cold liquid over my head.
Pilgrimage is demanding in many ways. No wonder as we journey that we find challenges to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We require resilience to make it through.
To build resilience, I’ve learned to be straightforward with people, and assertive. It can also mean I am misunderstood. But, as long as I am honest with myself and I’m not playing games, this matters less than being true to myself. I also remember to relax. For me breath prayer helps, or walking the dog while I reflect on my ‘now’. I’ve also developed a rhythm to manage my daily life and I keep to it. To prevent protracted conflicts I resolve issues as soon as I can. Finally, I sleep well (just over six hours suits me) and I eat well, having done some serious work on nutrition and how foods affect my physical and psychological health. Resilience, like a muscle, requires exercise to build up its strength so it’s there when needed.
How are you building your resilience?
My strength comes from you, Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Build resilience in me; reservoirs of strength to sustain me during times of trial and challenge.