The hubris, the cheek of it all.
It was the Fall of 2013 when my husband and I left for Europe with a friend to walk the Camino, the holy pilgrim path of 500 miles in Spain. But did we start in Spain? Oh no, we had to do the whole thing, so we arrived in a small town in France so that we could climb over the Pyrenees the next day. Did you read that?The Pyrenees Mountains! Up in the dark, with a roll for breakfast and with an exuberance that should have been a warning, we started our trek. Up, up, for 13 miles with no food but some lovely views. When we reached the top, I was weeping like a open faucet; so depleted that I wanted to curl up in a ball.
And then there was the down.Three miles over a rock strewn path with no other way to go. After a few feet, I took off my hat put it over my face and started wailing.This was the 70 year woman who was going to show those Europeans that Americans aren't soft. Soft? I was shredded cheese, an overcooked pasta dish, a mess.My husband was very patient and later told me that he was so whipped he wanted to call for his Mother. Finally, we got down and I took two Advil, had some wine and just knew that the next day would be better. And it was for ten miles but by the 13th mile, I knew that my feet and my soul just couldn't do this.
We finished but with train and bus assistance, walking only 175 miles.
I was reminded of this horror by today's wonderful Advent readings from Isaiah who I wished had been with me those days for inspiration. Listen: " Come let us climb the Lord's mountain, that he may instruct us in his ways,.and we may walk in his paths."...
Despite all that had happened, we were on the Lord's mountain and as if to underscore this, Guy happened. He was a Frenchman about our age who was hiking the trail.The second night, we encountered him at dinner.My French would fit into your sock and his English wasn't there, so we smiled alot. After night prayers in a convent, I kept getting the feeling that the rosary that I was carrying needed to be given away. And to Guy. The next morning, in the dark, I saw him heading out the door. I followed, pressed my small green ladybug rosary into his palm and went back to eat.I looked up and there he stood and through tears he told me that the day before he had lost his beads somewhere on the trail.Amen.