Sunday, April 24, 2016

Camino de Santiago

Mid-May I will be travelling to Spain to make pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago--the traditional French-Way leading to Santiago de Compostella, cathedral and revered burial place of St. James.  As a pilgrim, I have my shell--the traditional symbol of pilgrimage, identifying me as one making journey, and my Camino passport, a document that, stamped along The Way, will mark my completion of the journey (at least in Spain).

I expect this pilgrimage to be many things . . . and many have asked me about my purpose and the outcomes.  But here are a few of my thoughts.

First, I am going on this pilgrimage with an open mind and a willing heart. Whatever I encounter, and whomever, I expect much of the journey to be serendipitous, as I depart with few possessions, my Bible as sole reading material, good socks, and a few other pieces of gear that will protect me from the sun, the rain, and the elements. I hope I will be prepared to just "be" in each moment, each day, and allow God to open to me whatever sights and relationships and insights are in store. 

Secondly, I go to pray for others. I will carry with me at all times the relationships of parish, friend and family--either expressly stated or in spirit.  I expect, on my shorter-walking days in particular, to pause along the countryside, in small towns and villages, to reflect and learn.  I plan to eat no food along The Way (only breakfasts and dinners) but do plan to enjoy water and good Spanish wine as I discover it.  I also plan to lose at least ten pounds on this pilgrimage, and my energy through the day will be taken from the sun, the conversations, the soil beneath my feet.  

Finally, some have asked me if this pilgrimage will lead me to write other articles or books about the Camino.  My short answer is:  There are already hundreds of books about the Camino experience, dozens of memoirs, even movies.  I have no such plans per se . . . but I am keeping two options open as sidebars:

A book proposal that I have been working up, tentatively entitled, Twelve Roads with Jesus, and this idea will form the basis of a 3-part sermon series I will do in June upon my return.   I may also keep my palate primed to write an article, or series, on some of the Spanish wines.

Until then, I walk to prepare.  A few miles to go before I sleep.  

Buen Camino,