Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Camino 2016 06/23 - for this most amazing day

This is my last blog post before arriving in Santiago de Compostela. I will not post anything on 06/24, as the day will be full of emotions and celebrations. I shall post once again on either Saturday or Sunday, June 25 or 26. I return to regular Facebook on Friday after arriving at the Cathedral.

We woke up an hour late but since it was a short day, that wasn't a problem. Our last two days are shorter, about 12-13 miles each day, so we weren't rushed. We strolled through forests with numerous pilgrims. We chatted perhaps one last time with Dennis and found the men walking their Camino with a donkey (who I last saw before Atapuerca).

Yesterday, I was wondering if any of my "class" was still around me. As it turns out, I ran across Thore for the first time since Astorga. Today, we ran into him and walked for a while before he continued on. We promised to meet once again at the cathedral.

We chatted briefly with Grant and Astrida, Marilyn, Rob and Joey, and Caitlin. It wasn't really a time to chat with new folks, though since Sarria there were certainly many with whom we could chat. It is a time of connecting the dots in our heads. So it was fitting that I got to walk with Thore, the first pilgrim I met from Ssint Jean, and walked a few kilometers in closing conversation.

At tonight's blessing after the mass, the last church service before arriving in Santiago, several of us who have walked a difficult long Camino had tears flowing. During the pilgrim's blessing, we were asked by the priest for a word that comes from our heart about our pilgrimage... "Graçias", I said.

Thank you God for giving me the chance to make this pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation, in safety and in peace. Thank you Holy Spirit for inspiring me to open the journey to a group who would and could appreciate the opportunity to pray and walk together... Miles away from each other and me... Miles and miles from beginning to end. Thank you Christ for showing me that in your wounds, I can touch and discover that life can surprise and let me touch God without any doubts. 

Thank you Stephen (pictured here with his rarely worn glasses and two days of stubble) for being my intellectual and emotional counterpart, whether on the phone or here by my side as I write this.

And thank you. All of you. Thank you for joining me, inspiring me, crying with me, walking with me, comforting me, provoking me, praying with me, leaning on me, laughing with me, holding me up when I limped and froze and melted and screamed in pain. 

It is now 6:30 am on Friday morning. I will leave in a few minutes for the final 20km of my 920km pilgrimage. According to my walking app, with all the extra walking one does on Camino, I've already walked 1070 km since I stepped walked out my front door in California on May 12. So I close with a "graçias" in the ffrom of an e. e. cummings prayer: 

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

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  1. Blessings on you dear Mel for taking me on this journey of the heart and spirit. i have looked forwsrd to your posts and hope that someday we will connect in Pasadena. Thank you.

  2. Richard Rohr's daily meditation - Summary for June 19 - June 24, 2016
    Two Halves of Life:
    Week 2

    Sunday, June 19-Friday, June 24, 2016
    By definition, authentic God experience is always "too much"! It consoles our True Self only after it has devastated our false self. (Sunday)

    Second-half-of-life people, like Jesus and the prophets, live with their wills open to cooperate with God's creative power. (Monday)

    Eric Fromm, in his classic book The Art of Loving, says the healthiest people he has known are those who received from their two parents and early authority figures a combination of unconditional love and conditional love. (Tuesday)

    In the second half of life, you are strong enough to hold together the contradictions in yourself and in others. And you can do so with compassion, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance. (Wednesday)

    The gift of tears helps you embrace the mystery of paradox, of that which can't be fixed, which can't be made right, which can't be controlled, and which doesn't make sense. (Thursday)

    Once you've met the Holy One who calls you beloved daughter or beloved son, you know you're chosen, special, and beloved and you don't need outer symbols to prove it. (Friday)

    Although the transition from first half to second half of life can begin in a moment, it takes a lifetime to practice living consistently from this wider, non-dual awareness. Even as you weep over your shortcomings and catch yourself returning to old ways of thinking, trust that God is working in you and loving you the whole time.

    Brother Joseph Schmidt writes of a time when Thérèse of Lisieux counseled someone who was impatient with her own impatience:

    Thérèse was asking the sister . . . Can you be willing to be patient with yourself until God gives you the grace to be patient with the sisters? Can you accept and love yourself and not become your own adversary? Can you bear serenely the distress and personal trial of knowing that you have the weakness of impatience? Success in virtue is not the point. Love--love of the sisters in their weakness and love of yourself in your inadequacy--that, Thérèse was trying to say, is the point. [1]

    So I invite you to practice patience. It surely does take practice, and God will no doubt allow you many opportunities to learn. When you are in a hurry or impatient for some particular outcome, first observe the sensation in your body. Notice what this impatience feels like, where it shows up--for example, your jaw, neck, chest, or gut. Be present to the feeling. Slowly expand your awareness to include what your senses are taking in from the outside world--what you see, touch, smell, or taste. Be present to this moment. Let the reality of both your impatience and the outer reality be as they are, without your attachment to them. It is what it is. And all is grace.

    Gateway to Silence
    Take up your cross and follow me.

    Phyllis Chambers-Emmons