A Prayer for the Journey
On this trip may we take with us
as part of our traveling equipment
a heart wrapped in wonder with which to rejoice
in all that we shall meet.
Along with the clothing of wonder,
may we have room in our luggage
for a mystic map
by which we can find the invisible meanings
of the events of this journey –
of possible disappointments and delays,
of possible breakdowns and rainy day troubles.
Always awake to Your Sacred Presence
and to Your divine compassionate love,
may we see in all that happens to us,
in the beautiful and the bad,
the mystery of Your holy plan.
- Edward Hays
Blessing Prayer 'When About to Leave on a Journey' (excerpt)
From Prayers for the Domestic Church: a Handbook for Worship in the Home
Departure day finally arrived. The concept of time fluid and ever-changing: it seemed like years or at least months of planning and my already-short night of sleep was shortened even more by barking neighbouring dogs.
But I was up in time, taxi arrived, check in and first flight was smooth.
And then I spent several hours in the airport in Toronto. And so, to this hoped-for attitude of ‘wonder’ of which Edward Hays writes, I would add a prayer for patience and positivity …
Because suddenly I am aware of the lack of personal space around me; the number or people carrying on conversations in every language on speaker phone; the fact that my parents got a little lost on the way to the airport; the slower speed at which my mother needs to walk; the very high temperature in the departure gate; the elbow that touches mine over and over as we all try to get comfortable in cramped quarters; the baby crying out the moment I nod off to sleep…
My extreme privilege kicks in and Mom and I decide to treat ourselves to a couple hours in the Lounge before we fly – softer music, lowered voices, delicious smelling food, and a lovely, reasonable temperature. Now that experience already seems a long time ago after the next stages of the journey.
Long sits beside strangers, being served food and water by kind Air France staff, watching a movie, reading a book, weaving up to the tiny washrooms, and sleeping in between everything... This is how the next several hours pass as they have for travelers for generations. I am feeling blessed and amazed that this huge metal bird filled with people and baggage takes me across the world.
The humidity is what I notice first after landing in Nairobi. Then the people who want to help us with our bags and our drive to the air bnb.
The state of the roads, the mud, the jacaranda trees in bloom and the gates into the neighborhoods are next. And today, our first day in a city of people going about their daily lives we await our flight for the safari.
May my heart be open to the wonder invited by the writer of the prayer above so that I see what I am called to see, give thanks for the gifts I am being given, and bless those around me on the journey. I can’t even begin to imagine what I will see next, but I am open.