There were many reasons I wanted to walk the Camino this spring. To finish, of course, to fill in the missing piece of the Meseta that I’d bussed through in 2013.
There was also a desire to have some time to reflect and meditate. The Camino gives you many hours walking alone.
I felt like I needed some time to listen for what God wants me to do next in terms of ministry. What is life-giving? How can I offer my gifts?
Some of those questions got muffled by the meeting of people and the physical challenge–and fun–of walking again.
Then the day I left Sahugun I decided to carry everything that I usually shipped in my daypack, and I walked 20k to Burgo Ranero. It felt heavy, but I felt strong enough to carry it. Well, the extra weight really pressed on my weak point, my ankle tendons. My left foot was hurting the next day. One of the lessons of the Camino seems to be that I have to learn some things over and over again.
The next day I had to go slow, and there was grace in that. It was a contemplative day. I saw the beauty of the simple things: the trees planted along the senda pathway, and how they created a rhythm. You could interpret it as monotonous, but that day they were like prayer beads along a string, one after another, predictable, and pulling me along.
Periodically, along the path, there were monuments with the Cross of St. James on top. I sat down on one, and no one came by for a long time. I was alone. There were stones left on the ledge.
and on top. I took my pack off and found a stone or two to add. It felt good to bless each one with a thing I wanted to leave behind.
The flowing streams reminded me of Psalm 42, “as the deer pants for the waterbrooks, so my soul thirsts for you, O Lord.”
Then I noticed the freshly- plowed fields, and the red earth.
The Camino was plowing my soul, getting it ready for the new thing that I hope God is planting in my life. There were lots of examples of new life along the Way.
I spent some time reflecting on what it meant to walk in Eastertide. I was walking in the midst of a beautiful Spring–much more dramatic than at home in my drought-striken Bay Area. It was a long time since I’d experienced a real Spring.
It made me think of the contrast with all the crucifixes in the churches I’d visited along the Camino, and the tradition of Semana Santa–Holy Week processions–in Spain. There was so much emphasis on Christ’s pain.
Out here in the campo, the church of the Earth, I felt the overwhelming power of the Resurrection pushing up new life, renewing everything. I could feel the earth humming with energy. Christ was here, on the Camino, renewing us pilgrims, and the whole Earth, giving of himself.
Going slow was a good teacher. Once again, I said “gracias” for all that God, through the Camino, revealed to me, and would reveal to me in the future.