When one walks into the grand plaza in front of the Santiago cathedral, the remaining few steps of a very long journey, you plant your foot on the last guiding shell found in the center of the plaza, and you experience an overwhelming rush of emotions. They run the gamut from relief at finishing, joy & elation, sorrow that it’s over, and a true sense of the meaning when God speaks, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is now the day after arrival into Santiago and I am still trying to sort out what it all meant and will mean as well as trying to gather my emotions into a bit more semblance and calm. It began as a calling, an urging in my spirit and soul, a seed planted in my heart, to come away on a pilgrimage and establish once again that deep communion with God. What began from watching a movie is now reality and over. There were days, especially in the beginning, wondering if I had lost my mind. Yet as I drew closer to Santiago, the kilometers dropping from triple digits to double, then single, I knew, through many small wonders, that God had been faithful to meet me at every turn, every sore body part, and without exception at the end of each exhaustive day.
It could conceivably take me weeks, months or years to sort out the meaning of this entire trip. What I do know is that I would do it all over again… maybe not for a while, but a definite yes. Walking the camino is not merely about something to carry out or achieve. There are days you walk alone for the majority of it, then moments when you walk with others, be they friends, or stranger. Time alone with God, my own prayers and own contemplation of purpose, and for other times it would be in community with another person. I had a small rosary in my pocket and I would often run my fingers over the beads of it while I prayed for people or myself. Each singular bead represented either a person or a situation. Sometimes while praying the Lord’s prayer, each bead would be a singular part of the prayer. These were the days often spent in deep searches of the heart. Am I a better person because of this pilgrimage? I hope so. Do I have a clearer understanding of who I am and God’s purpose for me? Yes and no, though I am not fearful anymore of the unknown. Nor am I frustrated with not knowing. I’ve learned it’s okay and that it doesn’t matter because family, friends, and being in community, whether new or old community is what inevitably matters most.
I have a lot of pictures of our last two days. I hope you enjoy them all and have enjoyed this journey with Rick and I. Thank you all for coming along! Thank you Jason and Kate, our guides from Fresco Tours! You made this adventure exciting, filled with great food, laughter, sights of wonder and filled with history. I shall remember it all for years to come. And I know, we shall meet again!