There's a cute commercial series from the 1970s where people would vie for a pop up toasted waffle grabbing it concurrently, look at each other in surprise and competitiveness, and say "Leggo my Eggo". The Eggo waffle was for this kid a tasty treat and the relentlessly aired commercial was never forgotten.
Right now was one of those moments where I have to say to myself "Leggo my ego". Small E, one G. I'm not supposed to return to Camino until Tuesday, and I must watch friends and other pilgrims walk on. On top of that, Stephen offered to walk Sunday (and join me in rest on Monday), while I took the bus to our destination city. So rather than Stephen joining me, he's walking instead of me.
And yet, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It's like an itch that I need to scratch but should not and just need to learn to accept. It's a reflexive emotion that isn't grounded in my priorities and I just need to ignore. It's like a restless leg that I must calm. And I am doing it.
Sure I'd rather walk. I walk at home every day. But this Camino has shown me much. My community of friends and fellow pilgrims has shown me much.
One does not make their journey on their own. It may seem like it. There's a romantic charm about going out there and doing an ancient walk through fields and mountains that feels sturdy and independent. But it's an illusion that we do this on our own.
We need people to offer inexpensive housing, kitchens, restaurants, books, phones, kindness, people giving directions when lost, medical help, pharmacists, nuns and priests, churches and refuges, water fountains, translations, trail maintenance crews, arrow painters, and construction crews. And on top of that infrastructure, we need each other to help with the difficult times, the heat, the cold, the frustrations.
So knowing this, it's easy to calm my ego and be happy for Stephen as he walked while I sat in a plaza outside the hotel. I had reflexive thoughts that we could still walk on Monday ahead of schedule, but I just accepted that I should not.
And since pilgrimage is a metaphor for life, both our physical lives and spiritual lives, we must acknowledge that we need each other. And that we can't do it alone. That we need each other to carry our journey for us.
And with a community of friends following me on this journey online, I have to acknowledge that I'm carrying the pilgrimage for many. And a few days where someone else does the carrying or where I need to rest, well, that's not just ok but beautiful. I'm no hero. I'm sharing just as everyone else is.
And one cannot share gifts and plenty if one cannot accept gifts and plenty.
After Stephen got off the bus at Hospital de Orbigo, I continued to Astorga. I checked into a hotel and waited for him. When he got to town, I took his backpack and quickly escorted him into the Gaudi designed Episcopal Palacio (Bishop Palace) before it closed. I sat outside and watched a local parade since I had seen the museum last year, and he came eventually came out to join me.
After he showered and napped, we had lunch. We caught news from All Saints Pasadena about the new rector. Rev Mike Kinman is a brilliant choice. I've communicated with him on Facebook and Twitter since he got involved at Ferguson Missouri. I was honestly elated. But before that, Rev Susan Russell gave a prayer that made me wonder what happened. I'm on a news embargo while on Camino but I found it necessary to find out what happened in Orlando.
Stephen and I were appalled and shocked. I've been so open about awaiting my husband to join me on Camino and the general safety of the Camino, that I forget that life can sometimes be painfully scary. And that I live in a gun laden country that has become desensitized to the persistence of homophobia and violence.
We cannot let these massacres continue. It is not the promised land. We are given arrows and signs pointing the way and yet we continue to choose to walk in another direction. There are people who want to help us, carry out load, share in our sweat and tears, but we don't let them.
Life is a gift. For society to recognize this, I must first. Do I really accept it as a gift? For me to do so, I must accept that others offering to carry my load, for others offering to help me emotionally, for me to accept the grace from God, I must acknowledge that I'm as vulnerable and human as the next person.
So I smile sincerely and share. I Leggo my ego and say let's enjoy together. Let's walk together, following the signs, helping each other away from problems and dangers, sickness and death.
And Monday, when I walk into church on my rest day, I'll give a simple prayer as I light a candle before mass. May God have mercy on the souls of the deceased and the perpetrators of violence.
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