Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Why? First Start with Who?

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"

- From Who Are You, the Who

I am asked time and again why I walk the Camino de Santiago, why I keep returning. Let's be frank, I ask it of myself almost once a week - twice a day while actually on the pilgrimage.

Often, a glib answer pours from my mouth, talking about pilgrimage and seeking. It may not seem glib to whoever is listening, but in truth, it feels inadequate to me. I say how much I enjoy meeting people from around the world, how I have time to think and process my thoughts, how getting out of my rut opens my eyes, how the art/history/culture/language observations deepen my education, and how all interactions with people along the way introduce me back to God and all Her wonderous joys.

It placates the casual questioner, and there's truth in it all. And, yet there's just so much more to me. It doesn't encompass the enormity of the effect on my soul and growth as an individual. So I've chewed on it some this week.

See, a big party was held at my house a couple days after I came home. It wasn't for me. One of my younger sisters was celebrating her 50th birthday and we were hosting it at our house for her. During the party, more than a few asked how I felt after the Camino and some asked why I did it. Soon after the party, I came down with the flu and I laid in bed pondering more than a few things during my brief moments awake.

Why. Why indeed. I don't think I can answer that question comfortably anymore. I've tried in the past and I'm no longer satisfied with my answer. In truth, it's not easy for me because I think I need to ask another question first.

Who? Who are you? Who who? Who who?

And like the lyrics from that favorite song, "You can go sleep at home tonight if you can get up and walk away", I do want to go home to rest, but can I actually get up? Can I actually walk away?

Who? Who am I? Who who? Who who?

And rooted in that question, I think, is Christ asking that question of Pilate. Who do you say I am? Part of my identity is deeply intertwined with that question.

Why? Why do I go on the Camino? I've ended up in Santiago de Compostela five times in three years. I'll have to accept that I might not answer this question until I answer "Who" better. This might mean that I may never know. I'm having to accept this. It really stings to not have an answer to the question of who I am, but I'll keep trying. And seeking.

And in the meantime, I'll stand up. And I'll walk away.

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