The threshold, “evokes the spirit of resistance we must pass through on our risky journey from all we’ve known to all that’s unknown. It’s the first step toward renewal” (Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage).
When venturing out into the world, we must first cross the threshold. Of course, there is the seemingly innocuous front door; that threshold we cross daily as part of our regular routine. We step through to the outside world without much thought given to what we’re doing or where we’re headed. I may cross the threshold of my own front door a half dozen times in the course of a morning just trying to get everyone to school.
When I started planning and praying for this trip, however, the threshold started to take on new significance. As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Dangerous, but in what way? I believe the most dangerous threat is that the unknown will shake our comfortable lives to the extent that we become forever changed. On one level, this is what the seeker is searching for: transformation. On the other hand, transformation requires surrendering everything you thought you knew about yourself, your priorities, your perceptions.
Giving up everything about who you are so that you may become who God made you to be. This begins with the threshold, and a new level of awareness.
I crossed the threshold, not when I left our charming golden house in Northeastern BC, nor when I reached Vancouver, Toronto, or even Athens. Each flight brought me closer to my pilgrim’s quest, but they were not the moment of recognition that now – now – I am officially entering the unknown. That moment came when I stood in line to board the plane to Samos. That vibrant Greek island would be my gateway to Kusadasi, Turkey and beyond to Ephesus (Efes in Turkish). And beyond, and beyond, and beyond.
As I stood at the gate in the Athens Airport, it dawned on me that this was the true threshold. The fear of the unknown was palpable. I was leaving behind everything I knew – place, language, culture, people – and trading it for an experience of renewal in an unknown land. I was officially the foreigner.
My prayer was a repeating one: “God guide my steps. Give me the courage to continue.” After briefly considering whether I could “jump ship” and hop a flight to Kos instead (there was a plane leaving soon from the next gate), I screwed my courage to the sticking place and crossed the threshold to begin my journey.
I have been praying about this trip since February. I trust that my steps are divinely guided (God has shown His faithfulness at every turn). That doesn’t stop the fear from rising on occasion; it’s just that I know how to respond now. Fear doesn’t dictate who I am or what choices I make. What a relief that is!
After the initial fear, I committed to risking it all and stepped out in faith. I crossed the threshold literally and figuratively. The journey had officially begun.
Karma is currently on pilgrimage in Turkey and Greece, following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul as best she can. This healing journey began with a nudge from God and turned into a true God-sized dream to pursue healing inside and out, and experience a revelation of God as never before. She’ll keep you posted on how it goes.