Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crushing Leaves

I gave a devotion at the Millbrook Baptist Church Sunday night in Raleigh, North Carolina. A friend of mine is a minister there and she leads the labyrinth services with the church members. I met Carolyn McClendon last year while dropping by to visit the labyrinth. She and other members were gardening the areas around the it. I chatted, exchanged Facebook info, and then returned later. Lo and behold, one year later, I'm leading the walk with a devotion (sort of a homily).

I wasn't sure what to talk about, other than to reference the Camino. So, as with anything, I took a walk in the forest. It's fall in North Carolina and the kaleidoscope of colorful leaves lie below your feet wherever you turn. I usually stay in hotels at the Crabtree so Umstead Park is a favorite of mine. But despite the visual glory of the park, it was oddly quiet, oddly still.

No birds.

No squirrels.

No copperhead snakes.

Just sound of the leaves crushed underfoot.

It's fall and the animals seem to know it's time to slow down or move on. The leaves are coming down and time tick tocks its way toward winter.

The various lakes and ponds and streams shimmered with the hazy sunshine. The crisp air, not yet biting, filled my lungs with power and fuel. It fed me for my talk.

Later that afternoon, I gave a probably longer than normal talk about the Camino with an explanation of how it works and some of my favorite vignettes. In the setting light, I offered my devotion to the people there among the birds and flowers. I was pleasantly surprised when I had several questions asking me to elaborate on points about the walk or resources to learn more.

And then we walked in silence around the labyrinth. We walked, in the fading light, until you could barely discern the path that seemed so clear just moments before. We walked and prayed.

Most of the time, I don't understand why people are interested in listening to me blather on about this topic or that. But something caught my attention this morning. One of my Camino friends from Austria chatted me on Facebook and told me that my comments and stories affected him. He's still processing and learning from the things I shared and the values that I carried with me on my journey.

And so, despite the silence of my walks, hearing neither bird nor squirrel, I still hear the crunching of the leaves as I move forward in my life. Whether I follow the path or meander away at times, I appreciate that my trail of crushed leaves may yet guide someone I do not know or see.

May you always remember that your journey guides those who follow you.

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