A Pilgrimage of Poetry: “You Are Not Alone”

A Pilgrimage of Poetry: “You Are Not Alone”

“Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.”

So said Anna Elkins, as she led a poetry writing class at the Bethel Writers Workshop. I never had any desire to write poetry, but when I heard Anna share a poem she had written at the Welcome Session, the beauty of her words drew me in. I figured I would give it a go.

Instructed to use our five senses to explore the world around us, we were sent off to find inspiration in whatever caught our attention, from the beautiful to the mundane.

I knew instinctively where I wanted to go. I didn’t realize that the writing I’d create would affect me so much.

Since when is poetry supposed to do that?

This poem is for anyone who is facing uncertainty in life. In the middle of your circumstances, I pray these words will help you to find hope. And peace.

You are not alone.


“Not Alone”
by Lorraine Marie Varela


I walk the halls from my place of safety

and step out

into the world unknown.


The coolness of the halls brought comfort;

their sights and sounds wrapped me

in the familiarity

of days gone by.

My childhood was spent

within the sanctuary

of halls such as these.


I leave the coolness

the chatter

the peace

and step out into the light

the quiet

the heat

as I journey toward the unfamiliar.


Up ahead I know I will encounter dust and rocks.

Dust and rocks.


But is there more?


The shade of the tree welcomes me

to come

and sit within its shelter.


In the serenity of the shade,

the songs of the birds

rise and fall

in greeting and response.


All is well.


The sound of cascading water,

gently flowing,

brings a steady reminder

of the Holy Spirit’s refreshing wonder—

ever present,

ever with me.


I feel the warm breeze encircle

and swirl around me—

increasing in intensity,


to make its presence known.


“Look at me!”

the breeze says without a word,

“I am here.”


The air that had been invisible,


has garnered my attention.

Its company is

a welcome friend.


I detect a faint sweetness in the breeze.


Not overpowering

with a demand to be noticed,

but in subtle hints

the sweet aroma reminds me

to taste and see that the LORD is good.

A taste that must be experienced,

to be fully cherished.


As I sit under the tree

in contemplative stillness,

I feel the hardness of the rock

on which I sit.

A rock that is inscribed:



Place of Outpouring

House of Grace

House of Mercy


And I am reminded that no matter

where my feet may wander,

or where I journey onward in life,

I am covered by steady streams of

Grace and Mercy,

pouring over me

from the Giver of Life.


I am not alone.


My senses have proven this is so.


As I make my way back

into the halls of familiarity,

coolness envelops me once again.

Safety within; discovery without.


Discovery within; safety without.


For wherever I go,

I rest secure

in the One who knows me by name.


I am not alone

…and neither are you.





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8 Comments on "A Pilgrimage of Poetry: “You Are Not Alone”"

Anna Elkins
4 years 8 months ago

What a treat to see your writing here with your photos! I’m so glad you came to my workshop and pressed into the unknown (And yes, you can do it again 😉 Blessings of ongoing revelation in word and image…

4 years 8 months ago

Anna, thank you so much for your encouraging words. Your writing was so inspirational to me…just look what you started! 🙂 I wish I had taken my camera with me on my “journey” that day, but since I had no photo evidence, I decided to go to my archives and pull out dust and rocks pictures from the Nevada desert. They were the next-best substitute for the real thing…

Theresa Jensen
4 years 8 months ago

Wow – that is incredible. You definitely need to include this in your book – maybe as a preface? I can’t believe this is your first attempt.

4 years 8 months ago

Thank you, Theresa! I hadn’t considered this for inclusion in the book I am writing. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if one day the Lord had certain plans for this. For a first attempt, I was pleased…but left wondering if I’ll ever be able to do this again. 🙂

4 years 8 months ago

Beautiful poem Lorraine! I can never be reminded enough of the security we have with “the one who knows my name!”

4 years 8 months ago

Thank you, Debbie! It definitely is one of the most amazing truths that the God of this universe created us and knows us by name. That’s powerful!

4 years 8 months ago

Beautiful! Keep writing! ❤️❤️❤️

4 years 8 months ago

Thank you, my friend!