For almost 300 days, I was in, more-or-less, a perpetual state of Vorfreude, a joy overflowing with anticipation for my Benedictine pilgrimage.
I was filled with “fernweh”— a desire to travel, to have an adventure of independence and to see places that I knew I just had to see. That yearning has been satisfied, more than satisfied.
I’ve been home for 10 days now. My German monk-friends say after the vorfreude, it’s “nach der freude”, after the joy. It’s all over, no more anticipation. No more joy. Typically I like closure. I like to finish projects that I start and check items off my list of things to do. I love that a school year comes to an end and that I can birth new ideas and goals for the next school year. Closure is important to me. But not this time. I don’t want this joy to end. I don’t want to stop remembering the experiences, conversations, laughs, meals, feelings, sights and insights. I want to capture it all and hold it inside for awhile. I don’t want to forget those 3 special weeks. I want to keep living it; writing about it; looking at pictures. I want to seal it in my memory. I want to easily recall, where did this happen? What did we do that day? What was the name of that restaurant?
I was gone for 23 days. I was in 3 countries (four if you count the nightmare of the Paris, France airport); visited at least 15 monasteries, 43 churches or chapels, 26 cities or villages and over a half dozen breweries and wineries. I met a cousin I had never met before and spent time with other family that I hadn’t seen in 20 years. I was away from my daughter and husband (and dogs) longer than I ever had been before and there were moments of “heimweh”, homesickness. There was a collision of home and away about 2 weeks in. I wanted both. I wanted to continue the adventure, but I also wanted to come home. I’ve given those mixed feelings a lot of thought and decided it means I have the best of both worlds. I had an incredible journey and have a wonderful home to come back to. Both home and away reside in my heart. My heart is full. Full and overflowing.
It’s going to be awhile before I find all the words to describe what I’ve experienced, but I believe the words will bubble up when the time is right. For now it seems SoulCollage helps me come to that coveted closure I need. I call this card “My heart overflows”.
I’ve been told that Germans have a saying “Vorfreude ist die schönste freude”; the greatest joy is in the anticipation. There is truth to this saying… the excitement of the unknown, the fruit of the imagination…(sigh). My heart was full of joyful anticipation, no doubt. But, joy, oh, there is still joy… albeit peppered with sadness that it is all behind me.
There’s a lot of talk about living in the present moment (and I’m a believer), but looking forward to the pilgrimage was exciting! And I’m looking forward to the next thing to look forward to. 🙂 Being on the pilgrimage was unbelievable and I embraced each moment fully. And now that I’m looking back at it, I will pull fragments of what I learned into my daily life. I think we don’t forget, we don’t put our experiences (good or bad) behind us, but instead we allow them to permeate us, to transform us. Rather than the pilgrimage (or the joy) being behind me, it is within me.
Future moment, past moment, present moment; a collision of time.
Home and away; a collision of place.
They co-exist. They live in our hearts.
My heart overflows. Joy.