We have had some beautiful moments on the Camino this week. Near the high point in the Camino is a place called Cruz Ferro. There is a tall pole with a cross above where people leave rocks, notes and symbols of the intentions or burdens they have carried. As you walk up to it, there is silence. Everyone understands it is a sacred place. I went up first and attached the SJV Prayer Warrior prayers to the poll and set down the rocks I had carried. I prayed briefly at the poll. Then Jerry went up and set down some intentions he had carried and prayed for. We probably spent 30 minutes at the poll, both waiting our turn and watching others who came after. Even the young people who talk ,sing and play their way along the Camino were reverent here.
Another beautiful and reverent moment was at La Faba. Indira Pethebridge at SJV had encouraged us to stay there for this experience. She was so right! German Volunteers staff the Albergue and they provide a truly beautiful pilgrim ritual in the Church next door complete with passing around a lamp for which we were to offer our hopes or prayers as we held it, washing one another’s feet, holding hands around the altar and then offering a hug of peace to one another. We were also with some wonderful women that we have run into often here from the Midwest. It was beautiful especially to share the experience with them.
We are now in Galicia in Triacastela. We went over another peak today not quite as high in the Galician mountains. The views were spectacular! It was a 16 mile day of hard climbing and descending, but the heat wave has broken and that makes walking a bit easier. Tomorrow we will walk in rain, but it will be a shorter day. We are grateful for today and the beautiful views and to have the last steep trail not slippery and wet! I am listening to the rain and thunder as I type.
My leg pain has its ups and downs. I am just continuing to ship my pack each day to avoid the extra weight. We are now into our final week of walking and it has an anticipatory but also melancholy feel. I am a bit homesick, but I will also miss the job of walking, the time to pray, the people you meet who share amazing things with you. We befriended two young teachers on the Camino. They are ahead of us now, but have written us to see if we can meet them for the pilgrim’s mass and lunch in Santiago before they fly away. We hope to be able to do that, so I am praying we both hold up to walk there in time. Jerry has been doing really well, but we both need a lot of rest after walking. It is a special rhythm of life and we are blessed and grateful for this time.
(Jerry’s notes): There are also physical and spiritual deserts from time to time on the Camino. I was gently reminded by the Spirit that these moments are actually a special gift. It is when we can love through the most difficult moments that we understand just how much God is the ground of our being. I am also learning greater patience and trust. If I have placed something in God’s hands, I need to trust that he will work in his own time and way.