Like pretty much everyone else, I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over. When I was on Camino, I was marginally aware of what was going on, but I really tried to tune out. Not having TV, newspapers, or a lot of time to look at my phone was a great antidote to election-obsession. Well, now I am back. As I try not to be obsessed, I am more aware and more focused on the news.
A particular thought goes through my mind as I listen to the doomsday predictions of what will happen if *that one* wins, (and make no mistake, both sides do this – and yes, me included!) is persistent. In fact, I thought the same thing when I was on Camino when the topic of the election would come up.
What then is this deep thought?
People have been walking the Camino for over 1000 years – that is a long time! Think about history over the last 1000-1200 years, a lot of things happened. Wars, political intrigue, the rise and fall of monarchies, the Crusades, the Bubonic plague to name a few… And yet, people kept walking. I’m pretty sure that there were many times that people thought the world would end if this or that happened. As you can see, because you are here and reading this, it has not ended.
That’s not to say that we should not be concerned about what will happen tomorrow, and that is not to say that we should not care about the fate of our nation – and the world. We should care, but all the fear and loathing will likely lead us to worse places than we already occupy.
The Camino reminded me of the timeless nature of the world, and that in the midst of it all, God is always present. The Camino taught me a lot about staying awake in the present moment, which is the only moment we have. The Camino is there and has been there, people walk the Camino – for whatever reason – and thus the Camino remains. The pathways may have been redone, these might not be the same exact steps taken by St. Francis of Assisi or others, we walk in the dust of saints and sinners from across time. The 1000 year old chestnut tree might have been small when Francis passed that way, but it would have stood. And watching the sun set over the Atlantic moved me more deeply than I imagined, after a lifetime of watching it rise over that same ocean.
Perhaps you cannot relate, but I continue to be struck by how the tides of the world rise and fall, yet the Camino remains.
What happens tomorrow on November 8 matters, but God is present in every detail. Of all the things I am obsessed with, I think that is the most important one. Timelessness and God remind me that I can’t control what happens in the world around me, but that I can surrender to, and walk always, with God. Just for today, may I choose that surrender. And for tomorrow? Well, I’m guessing that surrender is a good thing for every day.
(The slideshow at the top shows various Camino photos. The closing image is good advice for one and all, through the work of Bro. Mickey O’Neill McGrath, OSFS. )