Walking the Camino
|Susan & I beginning the journey|
Affirmation: Even though the walk along the Camino has ended, the journey continues.
|Roads Scholar Camino Tribe, May 2017|
I attempted to share a bit of our trip on the local Camino blog site in case someone else was interested in going with Roads Scholar but the conversation quickly turned to how much more it cost to go with a tour than it would cost to go on one’s own. I don’t think the people who commented had a clue; I don’t believe I would have ever gone “on my own.” I almost didn’t go with the group. Yes, it cost more than a solo hike but for me, it was worth the expense. I had many moments beforehand of wondering what the heck I had signed up for. We walked 60 miles in 10 days. We walked up mountains, through forests, through small villages and in the rain and through the mud. We didn’t get a certificate and we had a lot of guidance, thank God! But I left with a wonderful sense of accomplishment and an amazing storehouse full of memories that will last me a life-time.
|The Rosaries in Finisterra|
Remember the blessed Rosaries I collected? I mentioned them in the last blog. My first night with the group, I explained that I had been given a “message” to bring Rosaries and I knew that sounded weird but I had collected about fifty of them from a lot of different people. “Please take one or two if you like. If you don’t want one, that’s fine too.” The rest of the Rosaries walked the Camino with me. When I was finished, I again passed the bag around with the same instructions. Between our group of twenty-three and the other people I met on my trip, I came home with 5 Rosaries. I was in awe of how many people I met who wanted to talk about their faith. If that happened, I eventually offered them a finger Rosary and everyone accepted; the tapas tour leader, the taxi driver, the hotel receptionist, the German pilgrim in Finisterra. I didn’t feel any pressure to give away the Rosaries. I just let it happen, and so it did, and it was so rewarding to share this small gift of my faith.
The journey didn’t end in Spain. The journey hasn’t ended yet. The first Camino synchronicity that took place was about a week later when I arrived at my daughter’s home in London. When I had visited her in March I walked to mass at the local church as is my practice. As I was leaving mass a very nice lady introduced herself and proceeded to walk along next to me. She was very gracious and said the next time I was in London, perhaps I’d like to come to her home for tea; she lived close by. I contacted her when I arrived at my daughter’s and made arrangements to meet up. I mentioned in my email that I had just come off the Camino. As we walked along, I asked her if she’d ever walked the Camino. “I have walked the Camino for three weeks every year for the last eighteen years.” I had goose-bumps. When we arrived at her home, she had all the original tour books for the path, before one had access to cell phones or computers. She had them in English, German and French. She also had a walking stick engraved with El Camino. My new friend worked for the non-profit, L’Arche. An organization that helped mentally disabled adults transition to independent living. It’s a world-wide organization. She then went on to tell me she had two American Gurus, Richard Rohr and Marshall Rosenberg. As you may already know, Richard Rohr is someone I follow very closely. He’s appeared in my writing quite a bit. I didn’t know about M. Rosenberg but I downloaded one of his books and read it on my eight hour flight home. He is the developer of the Non Violent Communication process. If that wasn’t enough of a synchronicity, when we went to a communication session to help our grandson, one of the five recommended books was….you probably guessed it, Marshall Rosenberg’s NVC.
It led me straight to an available slot in the fall session at the Hayden Institute for training as a spiritual director. Yes, even when I’ve finished walking the path, the Camino journey continues. This image that I now carry in my mind and heart leave me feeling excited, hopeful and awed. It’s such a marvelous gift and I feel so blessed to have received it. Thank you, Lord, thank you, thank you!