A journey is a trip from one place to another, to a specific other place. A pilgrimage is a journey from one place to another with the expectation that the travel itself will change the pilgrim in some way. An immram is a journey of trust. Not only does the person setting out know that she will be transformed in a profound way, she sets out without any idea where she will end up.
Reepicheep begins an immram at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
The Irish speak of St Brendan’s voyage – which many believe brought him and his companions to the shores of North America – as an immram. Brendan and his companions launched their curraghs in trust, believing that there would be a place to make landfall…but with no guarantees, and at the mercy of wind and water.
Without in any way making light of the great immrams of history, I would observe that for a child of the analog world (in this case, me), website design is a kind of immram.
I am used to presenting myself (to being present with others) face to face. While the telephone is not face to face, it is voice to voice. Even e-mail exchanges are finger to finger. There are specific people at the end of each of those interactions. Although my world is vastly larger than my grandmother’s, it is minuscule compared to the world of the web. I don’t have a clue who will find me as they troll on-line. I don’t know who will pause at the site, look at my photo or my artwork, read my words, have a response, and pass by without ever speaking or sharing glances and smiles.
For someone who has been called a control freak by more than one acquaintance, it feels like I am entrusting myself to the universe in a profoundly vulnerable way. And the world into which I am launching feels to me as strange and fantastical as any Brendan discovered. After all, the Internet was not even an idea when I was born.
But as I become visible in a way I thought was reserved exclusively for the rich, famous and powerful, I am wondering about relationship.
As I have (I hope) matured and deepened spiritually, it has become more and more important for me to be intentional and focused in my relationships. [This doesn’t mean I always succeed, but it is my goal.] What is the relationship I owe to those who meet me in the ether? What do any of us owe to the millions of people who not only share this planet home, but who are now individuals connected to us through friends on Facebook or Twitter or Tmblr? What is the point of meeting others as particular human beings if we do not give them the power to change us and our ideas about life?
Launching a website, I find, is not only extending my reach and trusting that I am sharing the blessings I have received with others, but opening myself to the possibility of being transformed by those who respond…
…which makes website design an immram. Yes?
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photo © 2014, Immram Chara, LLC