Nancie commented that I’m still on the Camino, but on a different road. I think she’s right.
One of the reasons I wanted to go on the Camino had to do with my commute on 880. It was a beast. An hour each way, most of the time in slow traffic. Towards the end, I surrendered and only drove before or after rush hour. But even then it was a long haul, and a lot of sitting. It took its toll on my body.
So walking the Camino seemed like the perfect antidote to my commuter’s funk—30 days of hiking and reconnecting with my physical self, and the rich cultural context.
It worked. I felt so fit and happy those two weeks I was trekking. It showed me a way out of the numbness and stress of the commute, and its consequences, which I always underplayed. But they were there.
As I spend this 24 period traveling home, I’m grateful for the Camino experience in so many ways, but today I give thanks for the way it reconnected me with my healthy body.
The spirituality of the Camino was a celebration of the way the physical and the spiritual are intertwined in our daily lives. Walking 5 hours from one town to another, and crossing mountains, and hiking in the rain reconnected me with that reality. We are made to move.
I reached Roncevalles, Zubiri, and all those other towns on my own, at a human pace: about 4 kilometers an hour. When I took the train to Madrid on Tuesday, it went 248 kilometers an hour! What a different reality! And today the plane home will go much faster.
I’m thankful for the technology that makes it possible to travel to Europe and for high speed trains. And I’m newly aware of how we need to give thanks for our physical bodies, and enjoy the way they transport us from place to place.
So I see the Camino opening up ahead of me in new ways. It will change the way I live my daily life. I’ll forever be more appreciative of my body and the spirituality that lives within my physical self.
Today at the Madrid airport I saw two Muslim men praying towards Mecca. I admire how they embody their faith, bowing down at regular intervals wherever they are. And I admire their faithfulness.
The routine of the Camino made me aware of God’s presence in much the same way. The walking and connection with other pilgrims healed my soul and my body, and made me keenly aware that the body and spirit are created together, and that we are essentially good.
Well said, Mich. Beth, I loved the poetic tenor of your thoughtful reflections. Thank you so much for sharing your observations, lessons, and insights so eloquently. I feel inspired by your sermon!
Wonderful post–when the body and spirit are one, maybe we are more open to God’s presence and better able to reflect his love into the world? Have a safe trip home.
Once on the Camino, our whole life becomes a Camino…