I awoke and left a tad later than others, hoping to have more quiet time to myself. I must be slowly healing these blisters though because I'm walking quicker and with fewer winces.
I caught up with my Italian story yesterday. Her name is Sylvia, I was happy to find her, and she was ecstatic to see me. Italians are so friendly! She introduced me to others with whom she was walking as her Angelo who made sure she was safe and rested. She realized that she should not go past Hornillos as she planned and that my suggestion that she stop there made sense. She wanted to sleep the whole afternoon, knew she would not in a dorm, so tried to get a single room but there wasn't one in town.
So her other angel of the day was an albergue clerk who drove her to his mom's house where she slept in the guest room, ate home cooking, and got 14 hours sleep. You see, it turns out she was exhausted because with full albergues she had walked 40km the prior day and did not even see a single sight in Burgos.
After an hour, we had juice during a breakfast break, spoke with others from all over the world, and continued. She's a nursing assistant and doesn't get to travel much on her income. We walked almost 3 hours between breakfast and lunch with non-stop wild flowers on either side of us. Every step we gasped at yet another splendid floral display. Every step was a visual feast, every step an opportunity to say thank.
We paused at the abandoned ruins of Saint Anton monastery which is now a refuge without electricity or hot water. A lovely volunteer from South Africa greeted us.
At lunch, we rested, filled up, and parted. She almost cried again when, asking me to please continue to pray for her, I asked her to pray for me. I'm humbled beyond words by her loving and faithful heart.
I checked into my place, rested, laundered, and felt good enough to go 450 feet up the hill to the castle ruins. More amazing flowers and views of the Meseta. And even soaked in a little sun and enjoyed the gentle breeze.
I spoke at the grocery store with Reid. He's a tall lanky guy on a study abroad with 13 students and 4 professors from Texas A&M. Last night, I at first thought they somewhat were a loud cliquish group and initially tried to stay away. Soon I decided that I was judging and to not avoid them. Well, he was kind, polite, and said to please say hi to his group tomorrow.
So as the night draws to a close, I didn't figure out what caused Sylvia to cry with me other than from exhaustion and a wonderful sensitivity. I do know that it meant much to me that she found a kind and helpful person at the right time. I'm so sure the Holy Spirit guided me to sit under those trees to run into her. The feeling of unity yesterday morning was palpable. The feeling of trust and caring today felt like God was walking with us.
I also will be more aware that I still am judging others not on any real damage to me but just on preferences. I was once young and loud and boisterous. Who am I to judge now that I'm older and louder and even more boisterous?
I feel as if I have no deep insights today. Just an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Of feeling that every moment is a chance to say softly "Thank You".
(Alanis Morissette's video from the movie The Way: Thank You https://youtu.be/dxpFvBHTirQ )
So rather than new stuff, perhaps today was more like going deeper. Like I'm starting to move past the absorption part and beginning the synthesizing portion of a pilgrimage. All with an ever growing thankfulness. How fitting then to do so as I enter the stark open plains of the Meseta, where there are few trees and places to hide, where everything is out in the open to see.
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