“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” (Julian of Norwich)
Several kind people have expressed concerns over my safety whilst undertaking my Gratitude Walk of the Pilgrims’ Way and so I thought it may be worthwhile writing a post about fear.
The comments made have been principally, I think, about my physical safety and for me that is very low down on my “fear’s list”. As I said to someone the other day, from a child I used to cycle around the lanes of the Hertfordshire countryside and return home safely (and of course had no mobile phone). I honestly do not believe that more people are attacked in the “countryside” now than they were in the 1960s. I believe that our perception of some things has changed. During the years of my “illness” God protected me. I also have the experience of walking the Ridgeway National Trail alone last year. I truly believe that statistically I would be in more danger walking around some of our cities and towns than walking in the Hampshire and Kent countryside. Provided I have taken sensible precautions regarding my training, letting people know where I am, carrying a first aid kit and asking for help if need be, I will be held by God. I however, thank everyone for their concerns. It shows that I am loved and cared for and that is truly a blessing.
I have a few fears regarding aches and pains, injuries, boredom and fatigue, but I have completed plenty of training and have strength and prayer to see me through.
More challenging for me is addressing my mental fears. I have always suffered from homesickness and it will not be easy for me to be away, mostly on my own, for two weeks, staying in different accommodation each night. This is something which is slightly out of my comfort zone and therefore good for my growth. I am learning that the only way to deal with some of my fears is to take some action and address them head on. Other fears (such as that of “financial insecurity”, I have just told to go away (!) and that has thankfully been replaced with “financial serenity”). I am so fortunate, however, that I know several ladies will phone me each morning and also other friends and the “wonderful T” are always at the other end of the phone. If I feel waves of depression I am aware that all things pass and that I can ride out each wave of pain until it passes. I am, of course, also projecting in the future and none of these things may happen.
Whilst walking in solitude for long periods of time my mind will have plenty of time to ruminate. I wonder whether any inner anxieties and buried emotions will raise their heads. I have a program now which I follow and tools to enable me to deal with my emotions. If challenged I hope to be able to admit it, surrender and accept help. What a blessing to learn that lesson!
My other fear is around “expectations”. What if I feel nothing, experience no growth or joyful moments during my journey or at the destination? What will I or won’t I discover? Will I be changed and in what way.? Suppose I feel nothing. How will I feel when the pilgrimage is over and I return home? How will T and others around me adapt to my absence and return. I am walking to express gratitude and I hope that I will be able to express this. I will need to just learn to give myself to the pilgrimage moment by moment.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going; I do not see the road ahead of me, I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so; But I believe that my desire to please you, does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire; And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone”. (Prayer of Thomas Merton)
To subscribe to my blog giving updates of my gratitude walk and other local walks and national trails please click here and fill in your details in the box at the foot of the page. Alternatively please “visit” my Facebook Page: Jackie McAll – About the Journey.
To contribute to my Just Giving Page where I am raising money for Leighton Buzzard Mencap Summer Camp please click here.