Two weeks from today we will be in Bayonne, continuing on to St. Jean Pied-de-Port to begin our pilgrimage across Spain. When we started talking and training for this journey a year ago, it seemed so far in the future. Now it seems that we are already drawn into the mystery. In one of the many books I read on El Camino de Santiago, I came across a comment by an old traveler telling a novice who was suffering from the walk, “You carry all your fears in your backpack.”
I believe he spoke the truth. As I have practiced carrying a loaded backpack, I find myself thinking about whether I really need some of the items I have packed. The first aid kit weighed just over a pound when I first prepared it; now it’s down to four ounces. I keep unloading the “might need” items. It’s okay to take some nice-to-have things when I am packing them in the car trunk; but to ponder carrying them on my back for 500 miles everything has to be necessary, if not critical, to have along.
The same is true for our emotional loading also: What about my life or other people in my life do I continue to carry, adding to the total burden? I am still discovering answers for that question. To my delight, I have found that it is getting easier to let people out of the “prison” I have had them locked in. I have encountered people who live their lives differently from my own. I would put them in a box (stereotype) and carry them along as my concern. Lots and lots of boxes to unload from that cargo hold!
And there remains a great deal of “load management” in the next couple of weeks. I am looking forward to what I still carry when we reach the end of the journey.
Since I have unloaded all tech devices except for a small European phone and a camera, the posts to this blog over the next several weeks may be few and far between. I don’t plan to record all my aches, pains and blisters. Those are the externals of the experience. However, I will work to record the internal experience.
We’ll continue to keep you and Sandy in our prayers as you journey out. I’m envious. May you find the some questions to hold onto as you journey both physically and mentally. I am really looking forward to hearing about the journey on the return.
One of my favorite prayers ends, “I carry with me the love of Christ Jesus….” Just stay warm and healthy. You will do fine, and no doubt all of your prayers will be heard and answered. Love, Mary A
An Ely native, a WPHS graduate, an Army Ranger–you are a tough guy, and will finish the pilgrimage in good time.