In the words of Fr. Tom Cox, the spiritual director on our pilgrimage of the Camino – “humble yourself before the Camino or the Camino will humble you” – the 120km walk in the footsteps of St. James was certainly a journey that not only leaves one’s feet tender, but also one’s heart.
We set out on this pilgrimage with 1 week, 1 bag, 1 journal, 1 mission – no makeup, no phone and no non essentials allowing ourselves to be completely led by the spirit guiding our way. Being led by the Holy Spirit may sound vague or super spiritual, but from my experience of the Camino, it’s really just moment by moment, day by day dependence. It’s acknowledging that even in our strengths, we need a lot of help. And even in our weaknesses, God can enable us to do more than we imagined.
For me, like I’m sure many pilgrims, the whole Camino experience becomes a metaphor for life – including the preparation or perhaps lack of it, the excitement, the physical and emotional ups and downs, the arrival, the new friends, missing family and old friends, the joys and surprises, the fears, the laughter, the tears, the simplicity, the complexities, the arrival, the sunrise, the sunset and so much more….. What seems to be very special about the Camino is that it brings out the best in people, creates renewed perspective, appreciation, awareness, and meaning for life and allows time for God to speak into your life. This awareness, this time, this walk, this meaning changes you and sends you home on a different path from the one you started.
The entire Camino experience led me to come home and let my prayer to God simply be in the words of the beautiful Meabh Carlin, “My Lord, My God, the pen of my life is in your hand to rewrite my story”.