Day 33 - almost there

I am sitting on the straps of a locked church ( we have found lots of locked churches along the way) only 9km from the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. We stopped here today so we could walk in tomorrow morning and arrive nice and early. The pilgrim mass is at noon and we hope we should have time to dump our bags, visit the cathedral and get our Compostela before the noon mass. The Compostela is the certificate you get for walking the camino. 

So this afternoon is a chance to reflect on the last 5 weeks. The last 791km. On all those steps. On all the people we have met and spoken to. On all the miracles we have sen and been part of. 

While I can describe what we have done I lack the words to describe what this pilgrimage is. It not been a huge life changing experience. It’s not been a five week holiday. It’s not been a chance to recover from anything horrible in my life (luckily my life is good). But it has been profound. It has been totally different from my day to day life. Maybe it’s been a chance to reflect on who I am and who I want to be. It’s reminded me of myself at 20 touring the USA. It shown me you can’t sort every problem yourself, you need to rely on others and on God for help. It’s shown me how quickly you can make a friend. I have been amazed at what my body will do if I keep telling it to do things. 

I will return a little browner, with scruffy bread, with blisters that refuse to go now. My legs are a different shape and if I didn’t have a belt my shorts wouldn’t stay up so I guess I have lost a pound or two. I will return needing to break the habit of having second breakfast everyday. But I am ready to return. This life isn’t real although the realities of it are wonderful and I hope lasting. 

This is not the best thing I have ever done. It’s not what I am most proud of. It has been approached and needed. A chance to place myself where I can encounter a living God. I should have known I could do that anywhere, but sometime you need to make yourself weak so God can give you real strength. I think, I hope, I am ready for some of the real strength. The strength to love myself, love my family, love my neighbour and though that love demonstrate Gods love. 

Our secular world doesn’t understand God, but it still needs Gods love and Gods help. On this walk I have helped and been helped. When I return to real life I need to keep helping and allowing others to help me. 

Buen Camino!

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