The Meseta is farm country and resembles the great expanses of Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Wheat and other grains grow endlessly.
The roads go in straight lines for incredibly long distances. It numbs the mind and can be rather boring.
It can also lead to wonderful mental wandering because you don't have to think about what's next. "What's next" is the same steps you've been taking for hours and hours. From the repetition, you are free to meditate and think freely. Even the crosses every few kilometers seemed like good ways to keep your wandering mind and tired feet attuned to the pilgrimage.
Repetitive work that has been done in monasteries and convents for centuries is like this. Liturgy often does the same thing in its rituals. The Taizé services I'm involved with at All Saints Pasadena do the same with the repetitive chanting.
You repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And in doing so you enter a meditative state, where your mind can wander freely along those long straight roads.
What a joy it was to do this today. I at first dreaded it, recalling how numbing it was last time. But today, knowing what was to happen, knowing the ritual steps, I felt my mind exploring more easily.
I met a Japanese man a few years younger than me pushing his mother in a wheel chair from Burgos to León. He clearly chose a start and end to their pilgrimage that would be flattest and most feasible. It made me think about what we are willing to do to share our pilgrimage with others. Or, to help others make their own pilgrimages. The love was clear here and I was moved greatly.
I chatted some with Lin from British Columbia. She's traveling with Alix and Alice also from Canada but I hadn't seen them since Alix forgot her medication in Pamplona. The last 90 minutes flew by as we marched into Mansilla de las Mulas.
But for the most part, it was a meditative day. It made prayer so easy.
Tomorrow, Stephen arrives and by the time he gets off the train at León, I will have walked into the train station. It'll be a month since I've seen him, the longest we've been apart since we began dating. (There will be no blog post tomorrow night as I will not be spending time thinking or writing but just being there for him and vice versa.) And now that we are married, a vocation that we fully live out, the distance has seemed exhausting.
But I'll be able to help him and heal his lonesome heart as he will heal my homesick heart. Healing isn't something done by professionals only. I know this will be the case tomorrow.
Healing will be through love.
And if healing can be through love in this instance, healing can be through love in others instances, with other people. It might not be a physical healing. My blisters and his pinched neck muscle won't disappear by our reunion. But it will be a healing of the soul that can then allow for the physical repairs to be done.
May your heart wander along those long roads until it too is freed to explore, to love, to heal.
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