My original plan for a post tonight was to start writing about my gear list (wee, fun) but instead I’m going to blog a little about Mildred Lisette Norman, a.k.a. The Peace Pilgrim.

Honestly, I had never heard of Mildred before tonight and her story is incredible. From 1953 thru 1981 Mildred (calling herself only The Peace Pilgrim) walked about 25,000 miles, crossing the US almost 7 times. She carried no food, money, sleeping gear or really anything else. She walked until someone offered her shelter, she fasted until someone offered her food (she never asked). She did it to promote peace.

Wow!

In a big way this resonates with me as Mildred was the first woman to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 1952, since I’m not sharing my gear list I will share Mildred’s: A pair of slacks, one shirt and sweater, a blanket and two plastic sheets. For meals she had two cups of uncooked oatmeal soaked in water and flavored with brown sugar (for breakfast and dinner). For lunch, two cups of double strength dried milk, plus any berries, nuts or greens that she found in the woods.

I feel a little unworthy…

I’m not going to go into too much detail, you can google Mildred and found out all you want to know. I’m going to conclude this post with what Mildred basically describe as her spiritual awakening, when this idea started forming and was incidentally concluded after completing the Appalachian Trail.

In 1938, after walking all night through the woods praying for guidance to discover her calling, she underwent a “great spiritual experience.” Increasingly uncomfortable about having so much while others were starving, she walked and asked God to use her. Coming to a moonlit opening in the woods, she described this seminal experience:

“I felt a complete willingness, without any reservations, to give my life – to dedicate my life – to service. “If you can use me for anything, please use me!” I prayed to God. “Here I am-take all of me; use me as you will. I withhold nothing.” Then a great peace came over me. I experienced a complete willingness without reservations whatsoever, to give my life to something beyond my self.”

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