Bigger than life itself and a boyhood hero and role model to many of us at a time when rock stars, druggies, and Hollywood glamor just didn’t get it, John Wayne was unique and loved by many.
Possibly the most recognized and distinguishable memory of the Duke was the way he said “pilgrim”. Nobody can deny he holds a patent on “pilgrim”. The dictionary says this: “(1) person who journeys to a sacred place (2) traveler”
That includes just about all of us.
In his book “You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right” Rabbi Brad Hirschfield says of pilgrims:
“I have come to think of the people in our society who are unyieldingly committed as pilgrims, and of those who can’t commit at all as tourists. Pilgrims know who they are and where they’re going. Fundamentalists, many evangelicals, many Orthodox Jews, jihadists, die-hard Democrats or Republicans, liberals and conservatives shouting back nd forth at each other, ranting secularists, raving holy rollers-all are pilgrims. I know because I was one of them. I was walking in a direct line to my sacred destination , and no one was going to get in my way.”
I also have been in both places, a tourist and a pilgrim. Neither was comfortable nor soul-feeding. I have discovered that the space between, a place of searching and mystery, and a faith in that which has not been revealed is probably where I need to be in my quest. It fits well. Sorry, Duke.