A time to walk and a time to heal

Yesterday I took a taxi to the Universidad de Leon Hospital and limped into the ER to have a medical professional look at my foot. It was a fascinating window into the Spanish medical system. They don’t take your blood pressure or weigh you or make you fill out any forms. They have a “concierge” guy at the door of the ER who directs you where to go, and a very no nonsense triage guy. It’s so much quieter than an American ER, no TV or paging, and the lighting was subdued, not hospital bright.

I can’t believe I did it all in Spanish! Because no one at the hospital spoke English. The female doctor spoke a little. Had an X-ray done, and also tried to pay. I’m supposed to give the documentation to Kaiser.

Her diagnosis was Plantar Fasciatis. She said I should not try to continue the Camino.

The treatment is RICE: rest, ice, elevation, compression and anti-inflammatory drugs.

My Camino friends from Chicago arrived at the hotel in the afternoon, and we sat in their room and I heard about their days of walking and how tired they were. As we talked, I realized that, for me, walking the Camino was over. I could follow along by bus, but that wasn’t really a pilgrimage. I found so much joy in the walking, and talking on the path, and watching for the yellow arrows, and coming into tiny villages—the whole experience.

It made me sad to come to grips with my situation, even though I knew I wasn’t alone. Many people in our “class of Orisson” were going home with injuries.

So I went upstairs and prayed about what to do, and cried. I had to have a destination for the morning. Astorga or Santiago by bus? Madrid and then SFO? Hang out somewhere for 3 weeks? I talked to Hale on Skype. Coming home seemed like the right decision. I called Delta on Skype and was able to change my ticket.

I met Gina and Caroline in the bar and we talked like Camino friends talk, honestly and with love. They are gifts of the Camino; I’ve learned so much from both of them.

We met in the morning for the awesome Parador hotel breakfast buffet. I decided to give Gina my Camelbak and my copy of the Brierley guidebook for the rest of the journey. The Camino has made me more generous. It feels good to know she has them as she moves into Galicia. We posed at the statue outside the Parador, and then it was time for my taxi to the train station.

I’m in Madrid now. I will keep posting my reflections on my experience of the Camino as I move forward, as well as more photos.

I know that it will continue to teach me and inform my ministry.

Today in Madrid I looked up at the cathedral and saw a statue on the roof of St. James with his staff and shell. Later, I had tapas at an outdoor cafe and noticed that we were on Calle Santiago. He is looking out for me, I think.




Categories: Camino, June 2013, Leon, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “A time to walk and a time to heal

  1. Nancie Meng

    I’m sorry this part of your Camino has ended, though somehow I think you’re still on it… just not on those particular roads. I also feel you’ll be back in Spain at some later date. It’s selfish to feel sad not just for you, but for all of us who have been enjoying this journey with you. You may not know to what extent — we may not know either — but your Camino changed all of us and the direction we’re traveling, too.


    • Nancie Meng

      BTW, I meant to say it was selfish “for me” (not you) to feel sad about this stage of your camino to end since it’s been a journey for all of us who have been traveling albeit virtually with you. Safe trip home, Beth.


  2. Melindaland

    Ohh, Bethie, this was a hard choice, but the right one. I couldn’t sleep last night so checked in at about 3 AM CA time, no new post, didn’t have a chance to get back until now… So many emotions; tears, huge lump in my throat that refuses to be swallowed away, relief, sorrow, joy, gratitude & most deeply of all love for your strength, self-knowledge, faith and joyous spirit! Such the journey you’ve taken and taken us all along on! Our grand, brave heroine, boomer of boomers! She’ll be back on the Camino someway, someday and we’ll all be with you in spirit! Safe journey home, no regrets, be proud, glad and at peace dear one.


  3. Aida

    I applaud your courage and common sense. See you soon.



  4. Hale

    Come hoooooome!


  5. Jeff & Gary Dunker

    We’re so very sad to hear of your trouble on the Camino. We look forward to your additional posts or even personal presentation at Trimity???
    We saw the movie “The Way” on Sunday and are now truly inspired and seriously considering making our way along part of The Way. Best to you on your return.


    • Dear Jeff and Gary:

      So good to hear from you both. Isn’t the movie wonderful! I need to see it again when I return and look for places I recognize. It captures the sense of adventure and also yearning that pilgrims bring to the Camino. Everyone has something they are “walking into” or “walking out” and my Camino friends found it a very cleansing experience, emotionally and physically. Tears, mostly joyful ones. There are lots of people who do a section at a time. (That influenced my decision—I can come back!) I hope you go.

      Don’t worry, I’ll keep posting. It’s good therapy, and I have lots of photos I posted to Facebook that need to be here. Blessings to both of you! Beth


  6. Sally Damsen

    Dear Beth,

    Thank you so much for sharing your Camino through your blog and pictures. It is an amazing undertaking, and you have given many friends a wonderful opportunity to journey with you. I know your heel will mend, and you’ll be able to carry on again at another time.


  7. Mich

    A moving elegy. I agree with George. Maybe it wasn’t the Camino you envisaged, but it sounds like it transformed you in diverse and loving ways. Always we begin again.
    Thank you for all the posts and pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. George

    Beth: What a sad eloquence in this post. Selfishly, I am feeling the loss of an inspiring correspondent, along with great pictures and the chance to tag along on the pilgrimage. But that is because your empathy is contagious, so even if is your Camino that is disrupted and your foot that hurts and your sorrow at parting from friends who will follow the yellow arrows without you, well, congratulations, good pastor, on making me, and I suspect a lot of others, regret it all, too. I know this is just an interruption and that you will return and resume the piligrimage. And guess what? We are all coming with you again! Can’t wait. Thanks for the great posts and for starting the journey. Take care of your foot and safe travels home.

    Liked by 1 person

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