Ever since I returned from Camino Santiago on October 31, I have found myself at loose ends. First of all, the return from the pilgrim life and back into the quotidian routine is startling. I am reminded of cycles of birth and death – I imagine being birthed is a shock to our tiny bodies, but we adjust, and God willing, thrive. As we do not know of death until we get there, our faith informs us of another passage which may be shocking at first, but one that I believe will be… well, I have no words, but glorious comes to mind.
Anyway, I feel like I have either been born or died, I cannot figure out which one. Born in the sense that I feel ever more a child of God, totally dependent and unable to fend for myself. Dead in the sense that what once was, no longer is the same. This new life unfolds slowly. Like a toddler struggling with making those first steps, sometimes I move forward in joy and with assurance, and moments later, down I go, unable to put one foot in front of the other. It is difficult to just walk, yet the way is only made (thank you Antonio Machado!)
Add to that the horrible and contentious election, the one I was happy to hear little of when I was away from mid-September to the end of October. It was difficult enough before I left, and I regret some of my own rantings made over the last year via social media. Noise, noise, noise! Is my own any different from that of anyone else?
The results of the election, neither of which would have been exhilarating for me, have been particularly challenging. Here I am two weeks later and I remain stunned, disappointed, and a bit depressed. As I progress (imagine wobbly toddler image here!) I am less stunned, but more disappointed and depressed. Plus, like a fussy one in the terrible-twos, I find myself crying and screaming more than I would like. Even if those things are largely contained within my inner conversations. As for my prayers, I feel a bit bereft, and imagine God guiding many others through history. How I wish that were a more comforting image, but for now – not so much.
All of which brings me back to Miguel Pro. If you read Give Us This Day you might know that I wrote a reflection about him today. Typically I would not do such a thing, I would stick to the Scriptures. When I turned the piece in, my outstanding editor was not sure about it because she was not sure which holy person would be featured in the Blessed Among Us section today. Anyway, it all worked out.
Luke’s Gospel for today is very clear about what Jesus said. We will be handed over, we will be persecuted, and we are not to prepare our own defense. You would have to read my reflection to see what I said about that in regard to Miguel Pro, but let it suffice to say that his defense is summed up in his own words as he was shot by a firing squad – ¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Is it me, or does the photo show that his lips must have been moving?)
The Gospel goes on to assure me – and all of you if you are so inclined – that the passage from death into new life is full of promise and hope. This feels like the loving hands of a parent have been extended to help me get on my feet and just walk.
Camino is over and we are in a new era of politics. All of this is passing, what must anchor me is the curving arc of promise and hope in Christ. This is what will deliver all of us if we choose to turn to Him. Choosing Christ means walking in one way or another.
Instead of curling up on my sofa and watching DVR-ed episodes of mindless television, I must do what I learned to do as a child, what I learned to do in life, and what I really learned on Camino. Get up, get ready, get going , and just walk. When the time comes, I pray will look directly at any threat to my earthly life, fling my arms out like Pro did, and shout something as profound as ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
But until then, no matter what circumstances surround me, I need to get moving in more ways than one. Christ will be there to inform and to guide – I need to just walk. Will you join me in just walking?