When you decide to walk the 500 mile Camino in Spain,your pilgrimage begins at that moment.My thinking has changed because of this spiritual path ,before my foot has even touched Spanish soil.
As I read about other's walks ,I am struck by the gracious notion that everyone helps each other on the Way or you won't make it.Feet being tended by strangers,food being served free by goups who have walked before and want to help.Mass being joyously celebrated,strangers encouraging when others want to give up.I recall reading of a young, handsome blonde German who wanted to give up after 250 miles.An older Hungarian woman approached his slumped over body,massaged his tight neck and said,"you can do this" and he joyfully finished.
Now that my husband and I are hiking hard places once a week, my thinking has become "camino-like."I find myself helping him hoist his backpack on, sharing my Gatorade, putting away his hiking sticks.We are both pretty independent and tend to take care of ourselves and our stuff but now the stones under my feet, the hardness of the hikes is bringing out the servant in me for him,my fellow pilgrim.
Yesterday, one who is not walking showed me the Camino spirit.My oldest son took us all to a Georgia Tech football game with tail-gate lunch and birthday cake for his oldest boy.Alot of his effort went into this party and after we put everything away,we headed to the game.As we entered the stadium, I mentioned to him that I had never seen the Tech Hall of Fame display that prominently features my second son's picture as the only Georgia Tech Cross Country runner to be an All American.This first son, who also was a high school runner ,took me by the hand and off we went to find that display.It took many special permissions,an attempted bribe and long walks but I got to see the above picture.All because my first son never resented but relished his younger brother's achievements and wanted me to see his name in lights.
I tuck this wonderful memory in my mental Camino book and stand in awe of my son's love for all of us.
Camino is now my verb and to camino is to help on the way.It all makes sense to me-that is why we are here.