Newsletter Article Fall 2012: Pathways by Joanna Quintrell, Executive Director

Warm sun on a grassy field with trees in the backgroundThis summer, my husband and I took a wonderful road trip in the Pacific Northwest. This was a hiking trip for us and a celebration of the miracle that I can hike again after losing my mobility two years ago to a rare case of osteonecrosis in my knee. (We are SO very grateful for this unexpected healing- a gift of grace- and thank those of you who prayed for us during that very hard time).

Every day of our summer journey we found ourselves on some kind of pathway. Sometimes it was the road itself as we set out on the drive we had ahead that day to get to the next destination. Other pathways took us on foot… through a rain forest, along a beach, around a small town’s streets, into the hospitality of that night’s lodging, onto a ferry, up a mountain, across the snow, and along many trails in the beauty of Creation.

Every pathway was different, lovely in its own way, full of surprises and sometimes challenges. One pathway took us up to the top of Mount Finlayson on Vancouver Island. The journey wasn’t easy and I found myself having to scramble up huge boulders and walk carefully along narrow ledges. Once I fell to my knees in a precarious spot and couldn’t get up without my husband’s help…a scary moment! But we made it to the top where we sat against a boulder, enjoyed a snack, took in the marvelous views, watched a ferry come into Victoria’s harbor and rejoiced together at our accomplishment.

Other pathways gave us the opportunity for gentle strolling and peaceful reflection. The rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula and the ocean trails of San Juan Island come to mind as places where we were in awe of the abundant, vibrant life around us. We will never forget the day we watched orcas from the beach for two hours, interrupted by sighting a bald eagle flying home to his nest!

Though the pathways were all unique, they also had things in common in that they offered us exploration, discovery, beauty, peacefulness, companionship, and an ever-changing experience of sacred places and moments.

Each day of our journey through life, we have pathways available to us…pathways to our own heart, pathways to help us deepen our relationship with the Holy One, pathways that connect us with others.  Sometimes we get stuck in the rut of the habitual and don’t see the other possibilities that lie before us, but those pathways are there and the Spirit is at work, helping us to open our eyes and consider saying “yes” to something new.

Perhaps we are being invited towards choices we could make instead of what we always do, new spiritual practices that open us up to the Spirit in fresh ways,  being transformed by a different perspective or receiving the gift of a new friend for the journey.

At the Journey Center, we offer a variety of resources and experiences of community that are designed to support you on your journey…these can all be thought of as pathways. We encourage you to notice how the Spirit is at work in your own life, inviting you into something new. May you find the grace to say “yes” as you are invited to a new pathway! And, as always, we look forward to the opportunity to be a blessing to you on your journey…


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