Día de Santiago

Feast of St James collage

Top: Sue, St. James, and me, with Dave looking on from behind us. Bottom: Deb looking as cute as ever, ready to hang out longer and wait for her bag to arrive.

Today is the feast of the apostle Saint James. In Spain he is known as Santiago and today is Día de Santiago. In the city of Santiago de Compostela there will be great celebrations. The streets will be teeming with pilgrims – peregrinos – many who are arriving at the end of their pilgrimage.

our feet in santiago

Our pilgrim feet and a way marker in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The weight of my heart seems to increase with joy as I recollect my own first steps into the city I had long dreamed of and had finally arrived. Santiago – the city of so many hopes and dreams, at last. Perhaps the longest part of the entire journey was walking from the city boundary to the Cathedral plaza. Thanks to many generous souls I was able to make this journey. Each and every day as I pray I continue to think of all of you who supported me and my gratitude is eternal.

The photos at the top of the post are taken with a statue of Santiago that includes a desk – as you can see! We left Frómista on the morning of October 6, 2016 after a stay at a truly terrible albergue. Today that stay makes for some hilarious storytelling, but it was not funny then and  we were grateful to shake the Frómista dust from our shoes and to press onward.

Santa Maria Blanca Villacazar

Santa Maria Blanca Villacazar de Sirga

A few hours later we stopped in Villalcázar de Sirga where we had something to eat at a small cafe and visited a beautiful church, Santa María la Blanca. On our way out of town we stopped at the statue for picture taking. Deb was waiting for her backpack, which she had shipped to this slightly-more-than-halfway point in our journey. Leaving her behind, Sue and I departed and made our way to Carrión de los Condes. If Frómista was one of our least favorite places, Carrión de los Condes ended up one of our favorites. – but that’s another story for another day.

Web-cabecera-rojoRecalling the Camino always reminds me of the joy and goodness all around. The hardest days and worst places perpetually giving way to the sweetest memories, challenge yielding to joy without fail. On this feast day of St. James we are reminded that we are all pilgrims on a path, and that while we may journey separately, we are united in so many ways.

May el apóstol, as Santiago is often referred to in Spain, bless you without end as you make your way.

¡Buen camino y ultreia!ultreia

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The Camino continues…

caminobegins

Sue and I on the way to Orrison, day 1.

 

Thank you for the prayers and support along the Way – we arrived home last night. My Camino partner and friend Sue and I had an exceptional journey. We did not love every minute, but how we loved it all.

Please know that all of you were held in my heart as I walked. In The Camino defied every expectation, physical, emotional, spiritual. It was more of all than I could have ever imagined. Maybe that is the most important thing, imagining is nothing, it is only made real as one walks.

midpoint-geographically-sahagun

Deb, me, Sue, & Jen

My cat decided that I should wake up earlier than I planned, so I decided to once again watch the movie The Way. As much as I thought I would recognize places, I did not recognize so many, although I was aware that places were “out of order” when I did recognize them! Hey, it was a movie, so that’s OK. What struck me as the most accurate thing in the film was the sense of community and friendship on the Camino, it really got that part right! For me the Camino is forever intertwined with such beautiful people, whether I met them for a moment, or if I walked with them for days. The Camino is a place where people live generously, and that is what I hope to carry home more than anything.

Three photos for today – our beginning, our geographical middle, and our arrival in Santiago. The end? There is no end, as the Camino continues in ways yet untold. How grateful I am, and how grateful I continue to be. More to follow.

santiago-arrival

The arrival at the Cathedral

Ready or not

am-i-ready-to-face-fears-of-starting-my-own-b-L-f3xoBw24 days, but who’s counting?  Hah. I am. How do I feel? In a word? Terrified. In a phrase, suddenly completely vulnerable and totally unprepared.

Yet, the day is coming, and on that day, we will be going.

If you have not seen the movie The Way, I recommend it. From what I am told it fluctuates starting with wildly inaccurate –  things like who walks on impulse, using someone else’s pack, and wearing jeans? And why don’t people have blisters? Then it becomes apparently quite believable – the walking and walking, the Camino families that form, the daily grind of walking, and the incredible grace and gift of doing just that.

Either way, at this point I am awash in self-doubt, terror, fear, and imagining all sorts of ways that I will be unprepared. This seems to be a most necessary step and invitation of being a peregrina on The Way.

(Note: before I wrote this, I had a terrible week for walking. A multitude of reasons had me less than active. Interestingly enough I got in 4 miles this morning, all before 6:30am. And I feel *slightly* less terrified!)