The Pilgrim

by Jake Block

“See him wasted on the sidewalk, in his jacket and his jeans,

Wearin’ yesterday’s misfortunes like a smile.

Once he had a future, full of money love and dreams,

Which he spent like they was goin’ out o’ style.

And he keeps right on a’changin’, for the better or the worse,

Searchin’ for a shrine he’s never found,

Never knowin’ if believin’, is a blessin’ or a curse,

Or if the goin’ up was worth, the comin’ down.

He’s a poet, an’ he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, an’ he’s a pusher,

He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned.

He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,

Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

He has tasted good and evil, in your bedrooms and your bars,

And he’s traded in tomorrow for today,

Runnin’ from his devils Lord, and reachin’ for the stars,

And losin’ all he loved, along the way.

But if this world keeps right on turnin’, for the better or the worse

And all he ever gets is older and around,

From the rockin’ of the cradle, to the rollin’ of the hearse,

The goin’ up was worth, the comin’ down.

He’s a poet, an’ he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, an’ he’s a pusher,

He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned.

He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,

Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

There’s a lot of wrong directions, on that lonely way back home.”
— The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 (Kris Kristofferson)

The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 by Kris Kristofferson, song writer, musician, actor and Rhodes Scholar is a song of every man at sometime in his life, when he looks back at the missteps and compromises that he’s made in his life-journey from here to there.  Whether the Pilgrim is clad in “his jacket and his jeans” or a Brooks Brother’s suit, the feeling of being down and almost out on the pavement is familiar to us all, in that moment when we have to make the conscious decision to get back up and into the fray or to just give up the fight.

Like the Pilgrim, one soon learns that the way back home is full of twists and turns that we choose to take, rather than that  super highway that will get us to our final destination quickly.  But on the road less traveled, there are lessons we might learn, as well as bumps we might have to experience before we reach the end of our journey, much later, but on our own terms.  We can learn much more about life and ourselves in the bargain by veering off of the straight and narrow path that others choose.  In opting for the road that leads to self discovery and enlightenment, rather than the most direct route, you’ll see a lot more of life in its reality than view shared by the masses who see only billboards, farms and cows along the way.  Their path might be bucolic and pastoral and yours might be challenged and chaotic, but while they become hypnotized by the droning of the road, you’ll be shaken and jolted at times, but awake to the world around you.

Like most of us, I always knew the more direct routes to where I needed to be, but seldom took them.  While those around me chose to stay in their lanes, going only to and from their cubicle homes to their cubical jobs and back to the cubical homes again, I journeyed from here to there and lost my way, finding that where I ended up was always more exciting and educational than where I was.  My home became where I was at the time, and where I was could be anywhere my choice of careers would land me, always to be reassigned after a period of time.  Learning to adapt and change, yet honing specific skills, I was seldom bored, and never envious of the “family and friends” who were born and who died in East St. Louis.  True, they had “roots,” but while roots do provide security, they also restrain, and I chafed at the idea of being restrained, even though most would think that a military life would be restrictive as hell.  While my siblings saw the sights of St. Louis, or midwestern Illinois, I saw Tripoli, Libya or Saigon, Vietnam or San Francisco, or Istanbul, Turkey, or Athens, Greece, or Frankfurt, Germany, or Paris, France, or a dozen or so other places around the world.

Sinner or saint, we all have to take that journey, for as long as the journey lasts, but no one tells us how we must take it.  We can choose the vehicle, from  a rickety jalopy to a luxury sedan and we can choose to travel on any road that we can find going our way.  We can choose the staid, respectable and less adventurous life or one with danger, challenges and obstacles to overcome.  We can he just another cog in the great machine of life, or we can operate that machine on our own in the manner we choose.  It’s our one chance at life, so we live it the best we can, and in the end, if we’re lucky at all, from the rockin’ of the cradle, to the rollin’ of the hearse, the goin’ up was worth, the comin’ down.

“It’s not a sin to get knocked down.  It’s a sin to stay down.”
— Carl Brashear

The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God

The Order of Pan
The Order of Cernunnos
The Order of Prometheus
The Order of Dionysis
The Order of Shiva

Categories
Archives