Prelude to a Pilgrimage
First off, I just want to make it clear that I am not a cyclist.
Hello, my name is Dalin. Over the next two and a half weeks I am going to visit every LDS temple in Utah by bike. I will be starting at the Utah-Idaho Border just north of Logan, and finishing at the Utah-Arizona Border just south of St. George.
I have lived in Utah for about 4 years now, and have carried this goal of seeing every temple in the state with me for most of that time. I had considered stretching it out over a period of time like summer break by trying to see one every few weeks, or every month, but it just never happened. Finally, after a semester abroad in Southeast Asia, more specifically after a week traveling to Hindu and Buddhist places of worship in Indonesia by motorbike, I realized I needed to make it more of a journey, a pilgrimage. I mean, if I can dedicate so much time and effort into visiting the places of worship of other religions, why not put that same effort into visiting the temples of my own faith?
A pilgrimage is a journey, plus a little extra. It is a journey ventured with the hopes of transforming oneself by seeking out and finding something of great spiritual significance. A pilgrim usually begins his or her journey intending to arrive at a certain shrine or holy place. I am planning on visiting 17.
I am seeking adventure. I am seeking growth. I am seeking health. I am seeking a stronger relationship with my family. I am seeking a way to show God how grateful I am for all that he has done for me. Over the past year I have experienced success, stress, acceptance, loss, love, hurt, travel, and coming home. I have felt God through this roller coaster of experiences and am excited to dedicate a journey to him.
I have found that I have a tendency towards restlessness, and can’t stop thinking of the next adventure I will be going on. I have never done an extended bicycling trip like this. The longest ride I’ve ever done was a 50-miler for one of my high school football team’s fundraisers. Am I under prepared? Probably. Thankfully I am an incurable optimist with a persistent belief that things will not only work out, but be awesome.
And now I sit, 11:30 pm on the eve of my pilgrimage in my dad’s living room with the bike I borrowed from my friend smugly staring me down from the corner of the room. The magnitude of this two and a half week, 1200 mile, 17 temple journey is starting to set in. I’m in over my head, and I kinda like it.
Chris Wiersma wrote, “True adventure is not just seeking thrills or creating intentional danger. It’s signing up for experiences that are large enough and new enough that at least it’s possible that we will be changed.”
Please forgive me, but I just might be presumptuous enough to regard my pilgrimage as such, an adventure.