A Pilgrimage To Iceland
One May Journey In Many Ways, Yet The Greatest Is Pilgrimage.
In an age where the very definition of family is in question, the role of the father is in doubt, and pride in one’s cultural heritage is in decline, comes the simple little touching and true story of “A Pilgrimage To Iceland.” After the sudden loss of his father a son recalls a trip they had planned to make together. A trip to his father’s homeland of Iceland 50 years after he had left. In his grief the son decides to set out upon the journey alone in order to honor his father’s memory. To set out upon a pilgrimage to Iceland…
Goðafoss itself is surreal. It is not as large as I imagined, only 12 meters high, but the effect one feels when peering down the throat of the river Skjálfandafljót at it makes it seem ten times larger. Part of it must be actually seeing it for the first time. I have seen so many of these sights in Grandma’s paintings since I was a little boy yet, now, to actually see them come to life has brought me a great revelatory joy! I was thinking about Grandma as I sat on the cliff gazing at Goðafoss. I imagined how she must have looked and where she must have stood while painting it. Were her paintings not an invitation to her loved ones of how beautiful her homeland was to her and how we should all try to see this great beauty one day? I feel her presence as a great peace in my soul being here. I have accepted the invitation.
Goðafoss has its own tale to tell. When I was a boy and saw Grandma’s painting and how spectacular this waterfall looks I always assumed when I heard its name that it had something to do with how the gods would wish to show honor to such a beautiful thing. Yet it turns out that Goðafoss got its name in a way I did not originally expect. It is said that after the Alþingi meeting of the year 1000 AD, in which Iceland as a whole accepted Christianity, a Chieftain who lived out this way in the East was on his way back home. As he traveled and considered the implications of having accepted the new Christian faith he was inspired to perform the act of throwing all of his idols which represented the Norse gods into this waterfall. He was inspired to literally perform an “act of faith.”
Author John C. Wilhelmsson
John C. Wilhelmsson is a professor of philosophy at San Jose State University. His award winning master’s thesis is now a best selling large print philosophy book entitled “The Transposition of Edith Stein.” John’s unique position as both a working philosopher and a speaker on Catholic theology allow him insights into both fields. In his latest book he combines these interests with a more personal story as he takes the reader along on “A Pilgrimage to Iceland.”