To a point.
I'm preoccupied with the itineraries and luggage needs of others. I'm making sure their concerns are allayed and that we minimize situations where a member of the flock wanders away. And instead of my own personal prayer sessions, I'm inviting us all into my ritual of morning and afternoon prayer, going from an informal conversation with God to one based on the Morning Office of the Book of Common Prayer.
We didn't start those prayers Thursday or Friday. I figured we would do so on days we walked, the other days focused on jet lag, eating, and worldly needs. Three of us had dinner in Madrid Thursday night and our first group meal was here in Sarria for lunch. We attended the evening mass and blessing at Santa Mariña, the large church at the top of the stairs in Sarria, and then proceeded to beer, wine, tortillas (egg omelet), and cheese for a light dinner.
• checking us as a group into an hostal (inn) and paying for it
Uhhh, in truth that's it.
• great laughs while simultaneously eating and sharing personal stories of our lives, loves, and Journey
• chatting with random pilgrims
• wandering and seeking of beauty and the new
• discovering that Spanish mass is the same yet different
• sensing rain and cold and yet valuing the present company and relationships
• laughing at our encounters with languages
• pointing out landmarks and buildings to each other
• walking separately and yet together
I'm excited about what will happen in the next few hours as we breakfast, do morning prayers, and commence our walk. I can't make someone's Camino the spiritual journey of their lifetime. That's up to them and the Holy Spirit. But I can be there to assist.
Somehow that's the most similar to my most recent Camino, the one focused on healing. Recognition that I can help and guide in the spiritual journey, but cannot control it. Being both helper and helped. Finding in our humanness, the divine. And trusting that the Holy Spirit will provide, guide, and feed each of us.
I'm feeling really blessed right now because of this opportunity, yes, but mostly that others are there to help me and praying for me.
For Thursday started with a predawn visit to Urgencias. I had a jaw pain that turned out to be a cheek abscess likely brought on by an accidental bite. And it got infected and made it painful to talk and eat. Yet everyone here and at home via Facebook has poured out prayers for me.
That's a continuation of my Camino of healing. That's Love embodied in the family and friends in our lives, in the strangers who help us at the hospital and train stations.
I close this blog post with a photo from my hotel room in Madrid. Four skyscrapers that are instantly recognizable as financial centers in Madrid outside my window. And just below are the tents of the homeless. And I think to myself, what journey are they on and how do our journeys interact? What have we done to accidentally guide them there and what can we do to lead them to a better place? Is there Hope in their lives? I know there's Hope all around us. I'm just asked to help remind others when fear and new situations frighten. To be there for others as they are for me. To love and be loved.