Alongside the ever-flowing lines of traffic on U.S. Highway 90, Patrick Spencer is walking on what he calls his “pilgrimage” to encourage prayer.
Despite the near deafening drone of vehicles rolling by, Spencer’s mind is finally quiet and he wants to share his own journey with those he meets.
When he arrived in Boutte, he was on his 170th day of a journey that will take him from California to Washington, D.C. Along the way, as he did in Boutte, he has stopped at places, including churches, to talk about God and encourage others to pray. The learning is as much for him, as it is for the pilgrimage.
“God inspires me on a deeper level,” he said. “A lot of people should listen. He wants the best for us regardless of what we have done or what we do in the future. I’m constantly praying and talking to God, even with my faults. God is still continually teaching me. This gives me peace.”
On Aug. 29 of last year, he started walking.
“Along the way, I walk and talk, encouraging prayer,” he said.
Spencer expects to be in Washington in four months and then may begin another pilgrimage in Ireland.
“I get clarity,” he said. “The question we should ask is ‘Who is God?’ The question is ‘What is it that you want from God?’ Those are the questions I ask every day, but basically those are my two main questions to be a better man and a better follower of Christ, and how can I add to society rather than take away.”
Bearing his big backpack and slim staff, Spencer has traveled far in his own life.
He was middle management for a railroad company, drove a truck for years and even owned two businesses in Florida, but lost it all.
“I lost everything,” he said. “Two businesses, a marriage, a beautiful house, a dog … I ended up living in a van with 26 cents in my hand and a ton of debt.”
In his devastation, he had a revelation – actually multiple revelations from his meditations.
“Along the way, I walk and talk, encouraging prayer.” -Patrick Spencer
Spencer said it came to him while he sat in a church for hours.
“I would just pray, think and try to listen,” he said. “Is God real? All these coincidences are happening in my life, but now for the first time in my life I’ve got real internal peace. This was deep and something I never really had. I had anxiety, frustrations, anger issues, but I would sit for hours. About September of 1993, I would eventually lose everything and I would start living in a van.”
It was place he had never known before.
But Catholics befriended him with a place to stay, odd jobs and eventually came the letter he keeps in his wallet.
A quote from it reads: “Walk totally with me now my son, not by the words from your lips, but by the witness of your cross.”
Spencer’s first pilgrimage was in Pamplona, Spain, on the Camino de Santiago, which means path to St. James.
“You can walk across the whole country and never leave the path,” he said. “They’ve been doing it for thousands of years since St. James was martyred.”
To read about the many places Spencer has visited, visit Patrick Spencer @patrickspencer35 on Instagram.
Walk this way
- Patrick Spencer is walking from California to Washington, D.C., to encourage people to pray.
- The walk began Aug. 29, 2018.
- On 170th day of what Spencer calls his pilgrimage when he arrived in Boutte.
- Spencer lost everything and then found “everything” with God.