Monday, October 7, 2013
saints answer the phone when it rings...
Early in our Camino walk , we found ourselves at a hostel table with several pilgrims from around the globe.As we passed bread and filled wine glasses, I asked the young good looking Dane next to me what he did back home.His answer surprised as he works for the Red Cross interviewing and placing Afhgan refugees.I asked how he does this as I would expect the language would be a barrier.He said that he does the best he can but that the work is very draining.The people he helps have nothing and have nowhere to go and such deprivation overwhelms him.He came on the Camino to clear his mind.I asked if he was a saint.The work he does ,it seems to me ,is God's work.He laughed and shook his head.A young West Coast walker who sat across from me asked with curiosity:"Why would anyone want to be a saint ?"It's a good path,like the one we are on,I replied."And I think that this is so.
Pope Francis was quoted recently about listening to God in the quiet of your heart and responding .I think he must have seen me on the train platform when we were leaving Sahagun.As we approached some benches at the station with an hour until train time,I heard this loud Irish voice pontificating from the other end.He was an older pilgrim with a white beard and ruddy face talking to another hiker and either he was deaf or he thought she was.John and I had planned an hour off our feet reading and were annoyed by the voice booming in our ears.A few minutes later, another group joined the small throng and the Irishman must have known them because he scurried over,sat down and left the first pilgrim alone.Now, there were groups of two or more and her, alone on the platform.I thought,she speaks English ,I should go talk to her but the book I was reading was so enjoyable as I sat in the warm sun.A few minutes later, someone else went to talk to her and I was glad.
But as I walked many steps the next day,clarity came.This is not how saints are made.
Was I listening?What opportunity did I miss,what call?Unbelievably,I saw her again,this bedraggled woman who looked more homeless than hiker,she who was not clad in Columbia wear,leaving the Leon station.She had a new friend and she was glowing .Her Camino was blessing her.