I am a Pilgrim. I devote my days to live my now to the place that awaits me where I’ll spend tomorrows. As I do, let these be so:
Let me laugh heartily, with the children I meet along. Let me be one with them in their hopes and ambitions for such they are rich and that the world is theirs to inherit.
Let me be unfailing as a youth for they are eager and curious and driven, they can go along with life no matter what it takes. Never let me lose sight, however, with the gracefulness of the old who sits down and tells stories.
May I listen to the counsel of the wise, to the philosophies of great people, as well as the teachings of those who persevere to have a shed of light of Your mystery. Yet, let me not cover my ears to the everyday stories of those who sit by the road all day long.
Bless the friends I met along, for the joys and pains we’ve shared gave me lessons the price of a Mother of Pearl. They make me brave the uncertainty of what tomorrow brings and face whatever kind of people I will be with.
Bless the strangers that opened their doors to me, so thus those who refused to give me a glass of water. They all make my journey not the way I want it to be, but the way it is supposed to be.
Accord me with patience to wait: in order to grow, to learn, to start; that my idleness will not stifle my enthusiasm, knowing well that waiting is part of life even before I was conceive and will still be part of life even when I’m long way gone.
Give me however, the courage to start for things will not act out on me in all effortlessness.
That I may be reminded of my insignificance in the sea of people who longed for the Promised Land since the time of Abraham and his descendants , to the humanity that we are now who still sigh for a land of promise.
But let not my littleness and insignificance blind and weaken me, for in the vast shore of time, I am a difference… for I am ONE; and for all eternity, there will be NO OTHER like me.
When I bask on my triumph and the sound of applause rings in my ear, let it not bloat me away. For as to where my feet brought me, there is so much to be humble about.
And if in my pilgrimage leads me to places I never dreamt of, or to people I could only hope for to meet, remind me the smell of the early morning back home, or how happy I was with where I came from, with the people I was with.
Let my heart expand in wonder to the verdure of grasses, to the height of mighty mountains, to the vast covers of plains and deserts, to the constant waves of the ocean, and to the marvel of a setting sun that no words can define.
The same wonder I may express in dim subways and long-stretched highways; in the smoke of ever-awake factories and rushing vehicles in busy city streets; for behind them are people and it is the same life that sustains them.
May I too wonder how my hair or my nails grow; of how a body simplified its complex processes. So well I may also glow on the effortless blooms of flowers; on the gentle tap on a shoulder, the soft whisper of the wind, or the forward steps of pairs of feet walking the same direction.
May my skin scorch in the midday sun, in as much as it shrivels in the cold of winter nights and may I wash my face on fresh flowing springs. May my feet be wet in the flow of rivers and may I recline on soft sands as my tongue tastes the seawaters; for these great pleasures of life are for free.
May my desire for inner peace be more than my desire for a daily bread and may serenity be my creed amidst the turbulence of what surrounds me, especially if I could only do little about it. Let that serenity show without as well as within.
Help me recognize the worth of every person, especially those whom I do not like and I am not comfortable with, for the nature of man is complex. Others’ difference is a gift to me, just as mine to them, knowing that in the deep, we are the same, pilgrims, searching for a shade under the sun or a direction on a crossroad.
Let my eyes open wide to the wonders of your creation. Let it remain wide open when I would rather close it to the pains and struggles of my own and of my own kind.
May I have the capacity to feel the sorrow of a wailing woman upon the death of her child. May I rekindle the fading hope of those who are behind bars or those on their sickbed. May I, too, witness the unexplainable pride and joy of a first-time father as he holds in his arms his firstborn.
Let me dance to the beat of the drums on festal celebrations, sing to the joyful songs of the people on village gatherings. Let my body be draped with colorful tapestries that show a pride of a culture and my stomach be filled with food I never even thought existed.
Let me cry my heart out when I have to, yet give me the courage to continue, knowing well that the sun goes on shining despite my grief.
May I learn to speak the language of the travelers on dusty roads, or those who patiently lie in wait on terminals and airports. But when language ceases to be a medium to connect people, may I open my mouth to the language of love which is understood by all.
Let me enter into the great mosques and synagogues of the East, or the ancient oriental monasteries, or the grand stone cathedrals of the West, and the magnificent edifice of Occidental churches; and let it dawn on me that you are One in these different expressions.
Let me savor the sumptuous fare on wedding banquets and taste fine wines on the table of the invited. And may I have the same appetite to the meal offered by a family on the edge with their fermented wine from praising palm trees.
May I cross my legs before a griot, or jump-in on a caravan of passing gypsies and watch the performance of travelling circus performers. May I learn from them how everything could be so passing and how priceless the simplicity of a life could be.
May I listen to the myths and legends of lost or fading cultures. May I show the same interest to the tales of the bravery and humanity. May my interest be keen for the stories of women, of mothers, for unrecognized they may be, we owe a big part of our existence from them.
May I give homage before tombs of martyrs who shed their blood to lavish us with the society we are having. May I bow before monuments of heroes who inspired people to do and to be better than they thought they can. May I pay tribute before statues of saints, known and unknown, who have showed the way that leads to Yours.
And above all, let me not lose sight that all of these;
All things and emotions I accumulated,
All that is written and passed over in silence,
All the places whose grounds I am graced to walk,
All the people I am lucky to shook hands with,
All my wishes and aspirations, so thus my frustrations,
All the little secrets I efficaciously hide, and the experiences I bragged,
The very person that I am blessed to be,
The very people that I am blessed to have,
From where I came from and to where I shall be,
All these will come to an end.
Slowly… or in an instant,
One day, everyone leaves, everything passes.
For in the end, we are all pilgrims; itinerants in the world; a flicker in the flame; a dust in a vast desert; a grain of sand in a long-stretched shore; a drop in an ocean; a leaf in a forest; a mere trail towards that place where all crossroads meet, a place where there’ll be no more tomorrows… and where we will be pilgrims no more.
October 31, 2013
à la salle de classe de l’ETSC
Ngoya, Cameroon, Africa