The old preacher stood in front of the assembly, extolling the virtues of a more simple way of life. He asked, “Have you ever noticed that there is never a U-Haul trailer hooked behind a hearse?”
Yeah, I noticed that…
At this point in our preparations, the Camino has become the complete metaphor for life. At times, I’m not sure why I am doing it. At times, my legs seem to be sending a message to my brain: “Are you nuts? Why not go to Costa del Sol and sit on the beach?”
But a profound awakening at this point has been setting aside what I will carry on the pilgrimage. I cleaned out one drawer of my 5-drawer chest so that I could put all my Camino clothing and supplies in that drawer. When I finished, it was less than half full. So, all the clothing, first aid and toiletries I need for a 38-day trek fit easily into one dresser drawer?
Standing back, I looked at what else I wouldn’t be taking other than what was in the one drawer: four other drawers filled with clothing; a seven-foot wide closet with enough clothing for several other men. I have been through that closet three times since I retired 14 months ago. I gave away and donated suits, sweaters, dress shoes, pants. ties and shirts. I filled bag after bag of things I wouldn’t need anymore. And still, there is more and more. I’m reminded of the saying that we can never get enough of what won’t make us happy.
A few weeks ago I read the comment that if we pack too much with us, there won’t be room to pick up new experiences. In this manner the Camino presents this metaphorical message: The first half of our spiritual life is about addition; but the second half is about subtraction. I’m learning more and more that I actually need less and less.