....To Santiago

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Preparing for the Camino Portugese

Preparing for our second pilgrimage brings on some now familiar feelings of anticipation!  It has been five years since Stuart and I walked for 32 days on the Camino Frances across Northern Spain.  This time we plan to walk the Camino Portugese from the city of Porto north into Galicia and onward to Santiago, over the course of twelve days of walking.  That is barely enough time to make the 270 km but we will do our best.
There is a mysterious timing to walking the Camino: you don't know why you are called to do this at a certain time in your life and sometimes it only becomes clear in hindsight once you are back home and have time to absorb the experience. Upon our return, we discussed our Camino experiences every night over dinner for six months, remembering details, some painful, some insightful, some miraculous.  Almost every moment was digested and stored in the deep parts of our souls.

The Camino prepared us for some major life changes which began to take place within a short time after we returned and stored away our backpacks.  I don't know if we could have navigated those changes as gracefully as we did had we not been so strongly challenged by our 40 day pilgrimage. Walking those 420 miles made us much more assured that we could handle anything life might throw us: I had to very soon face that my working life had become toxic and was causing me to suffer from disease; I was diagnosed with Lupus.  My father died over the following summer and my shoulder needed surgery soon after I dealt with his passing.  We decided to leave D.C. where we had lived for decades and raised our children and enjoyed many friends.  We sold our house and moved to my father's house in Connecticut, a move I had always wanted to do.  All of this happened within a year after waking the Camino and we have navigated through so much and we are so grateful for how our lives have changed.  Life is wonderful and relaxed and full of joy and faith and new friends and our new home is a dream.

So as we prepare to step out again onto the road, feeling called once more to walk the Way of St. James, I am full of joy and faith that this call is also timed perfectly to prepare us for whatever our lives are holding in store.  I think I may have some serious life decisions to make and I pray that all will be solved by walking, as St. Augustine so wisely said.  Ultreia and surtreia!