Healing is a Camino pilgrimage. We venture out, seeking beauty and life, with promises of adventure. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the destination is the goal, but in fact there are many ways to get there and it's your frame of mind throughout that matters. You cannot heal if you cannot trust and you cannot trust if you cannot hope.
On this pilgrimage we may not ever make our goal. That might not the taste in our mouth we want. Not this time. But we try. A little bite at a time. As people on a journey, pain will follow. We take what in the past we would have called shortcuts. We try to avoid what we considered "weak", but there's no room for pride on this Camino. We all are equal, we all face the same challenges no matter how we start.
Two years ago, I mentioned watching Ema push her child across the Camino. I read about a paraplegic and his best friend as they went along the Camino. I spoke of older pilgrims who kept trying.
The similarities go on and on. And in the end, the ability to make the journey is giving up control. No matter what ways we take, we think we are in control. Control is a false idol that comforts us, gives us a feeling that we are strong and wise. But control is full of pride. It can drive you to the end, reach Santiago, find healthiness, but only for now. It's false because the journey never actually ends. Someday you must turn around and go home. You cannot control your Camino, just work with it.
Today's prayer set contains Romans 5:3-5 "And that's not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never let us down. God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us."
We can be full of joy without suffering. But it's a shadow of what we could be. Our metal won't be tested; the strength may not last. Ultimately we find we don't have a reserve of hope built up. It's not something we control. It's something we accept.
I saw Claude and Diane trying to find a place after her blisters forced them to skip a couple cities. I did the same thing a day earlier and am praying that I am ready with shorter distances per day. Since I'm a day ahead, I was surprised to run into an older Irish couple here in Návera, the one time capital of the kingdom of Navarre. They had taken the bus because after a day's walk into a city like Logorño, there were no rooms this weekend. They took the bus here to get a room for a couple nights, will take the bus back tomorrow to Logroño, and walk here.
Did they control their situation? No. They must accept room availability, Sunday bus schedules, weather. They managed things as best they could. And they were joyful.
We attended mass together as we ran into each other, ringing a bell three times (For Christ, for Mary, for St James) together, breaking bread with the one who gives us hope. We broke bread on our knees.
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