Yesterday I was describing a certain intimacy that I had discovered on the Camino in 2014. It was this intimacy with God that just was. I didn’t have to “conjure” up God in elaborate communications. It was all very simple.
Yesterday I had a two hour FaceTime chat with Cris. I had a pile of things to cover with her and finally we connected so that was where the two hours went. And in addition she sent in a comment about #10. You can read that in the Comments. And one of the things that she included there was this blog post that really sums things up:
I would have a hard time putting it any better than what is there. Please check that out. So I think that I will say goodbye to February 2021 and tuck in the Pilgrim Beatitudes till we review them again. They are really such a joy, it was beautiful to unpack them and see once again what a treasure we have. Till next time.
So Catherine will be here in a moment to hold our homemade church service. It has been dry for a few days so hopefully the standing water has subsided. We had wet feet on Thursday.
“Blessed are you pilgrim if you discover that, the Camino holds a lot of silence; and the silence of prayer; and the prayer of meeting with God who is waiting for you.”
OK, here we are at the tail end of February and we are at the tail end of the Pilgrim Beatitudes. Everything working out so nicely. That very seldom happens!
And here we are with the Camino holding “a lot of silence”. It is like we are moving through deep space. All of a sudden there is openness, space, opportunity for us. We have to know how to deal with it though as that could be a frightening thing. But somehow we dealt with that.
Then there is “the silence of prayer”. That one was easy to do and hard to understand. So much prayer in our lives seems to be institutional prayer or modeled after it. A prayer leader strives to sort of conjure up God from afar with a lot of pleading. But I think we learn on the Camino that he can very close by and indeed inside us already. And even if we are out of breath praying can easily happen. And I believe that this is what they are referring to here.
And then “meeting with God”. I really thought that He was very close to me then. Then when I was so tired and disheveled. That is what being on the mountain top looks like.
OK, alperfect. The other day I did Google “Pilgrim Beatitudes” and I did get some info of folks who had them and were writing about it. I still have to explore that. So that is coming up.
Have you ever thought what would have happened if the COVID-19 virus would cause us all to see the world more beautiful, or to be kinder, or to fall in love with life, instead of pneumonia…?
I had that thought the past weekend, and this beautiful passage from a book called “Son de mar” written by the Spanish writer Manuel Vicent came to my mind:
“When spring arrived, the orange blossom plague settled down all over the coast. At night this sweet aroma entered all the ins and outs of the houses, filled all kitchens, corridors, bedrooms and closets, entered the intimacy of the drawers and trunks, it impregnated clothing and curtains, it stuck to the walls and also penetrated the soul of the people through the seven or eight holes that the body has, until it completely seized the will. The air becomes sugary , the aroma of the orange blossom becomes more intense as the night progresses and although, with the light of the new day it loses its vigor and finally the sun kills it every morning, during sleep this poison is inoculated in all brains, even in the brains of animals, and nobody can know what happens when people have their five senses asleep and this virus is free. ” *
(I wish you could read it in Spanish, it is absolutely beautiful…)
Have you ever thought that? And before you answer “No”, just think about the Camino-virus…
The Camino did to us something like this passage describes… specially the part where it reads “until it completely seized the will”… Stay with that thought for a couple minutes… didn’t you feel at some point that the Camino-virus took over control of your life at some point? that you realized that you surrendered without having even the chance to fight back?…
Now think about the words “The air becomes sugary…” I say these words out loud and can only think about that feeling of being in love with life that I had while walking, even if my muscles were aching…
And surely if I would ask each of you how is that you got infected with it, you would not be able to tell that… was it transmitted person to person?… was it through the water?… was it through the air?
Where did it land?… was it in our hearts? our minds? our souls? our full bodies?…
Anyway, I was just thinking these random thoughts that I guess started when I listened to someone referring that the COVID-19 virus was this “invisible enemy”… and I thought how interesting it was that one of the things the COVID-19 virus does is to fade away the senses, the smell and the taste… which is the opposite of what the Camino virus provides… our smell improved to smell the roses (or the orange blossoms!) and our taste was refined with the tapas and the wine from the pilgrims menu…
The last part of this one is a little raged and I blame it on the translation but we can run with it non the less. The heart, our heart, our hearts is so important here. We learn about ours and others. Our heart seemed to have a life of its own.
That is the land we were in where things were upside down from our norm. It took days to get in the swing of it but then watch out. Hearts were like bumper cars careening around after that!
I have Robbi and Bill coming this morning to walk and the weather looks much better than earlier. They were here for the Veranda, ages ago. Yea, we are starting to have more visitors around here. Maybe there is a Spring.
Had to go into Seattle to the Institute to confer with Nugget my oncologist. All well and good. Then ran back to Vashon Pharmacy and arrived at exactly 2:45 to get my second shot of the vaccine. Kind of a miracle that worked out. Right now I don’t want anything more to happen today. Now here with my Cheetos and Chablis trying to unwind.
OK, I need to bow out now. I am too distracted to go further. But to morrow is another day. Meet you back here.
“You are blessed pilgrim if on the Way, you meet yourself and gift yourself with time, without rushing, as not to disregard the image of your heart.”
Yes, to meet yourself. This one always stops me short every time I read it. It seems an odd concept to my normal being, my normal thinking. But maybe that is what the Meseta is for, to have the time and occasion to meet oneself. Not everyone is ready or maybe you didn’t know that was coming and you fell into it. It is an obstacle/opportunity situation.
And then to have time with yourself to see how that works. And time to consider “the image of your heart“. We can be such brainiacs that it is nice to put that aside once in a while. We are more than what we think.
This is such a joy to have the time, opportunity and space to retreat like this. It seems a luxury. It really doesn’t cost anything in itself although you have to push the rest of life away to get the space to do it.
We all faced a certain amount of reentry problems when we finally had to break off from the Camino. I personally realized that I needed to get out of there for I was throughly exhausted and had no more in the tank. And then I faced two months of reentry when I got back home. Thank you Rebecca for putting up with me.
And at a certain point we all accomplished some sort of compromise or agreement that allowed us to function. Our old life made peace with the Camino and our new life made peace with our old life and it all seemed to work at a certain point. But what happens after that? Do we know where to go? Do we keep the flame alive? What does that path look like?
That has got to be very individual. Everyone needs to cobble that together on their own at their own pace. And I think that this #8 gets us prepared for that. We are really in this for the long run.
To sort of change the subject we had two new pilgrims come to the walk yesterday. It has been so long since anyone new has come along. The Covid has really thinned out the visitors over the last year. So we welcome them and hope that this is the beginning of a trend for our Springtime.
Off to walk this morning in a few minutes. A light rain is falling. All the snow is gone. The birds need seeds.
“Blessed are you pilgrim if you search for the truth and make of the Camino a life and of your life a Way, in search of the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
So far the Beatitudes have been more or less about the walking or the traveling of the miles involved. This one points to the point of it all. Is it more than a rich good time? Is it more than a vacation? Is it more than a change of pace from our “normal” life?
Whether you are Christian or not this is taste of that. I know all sorts and flavors of folks walk, yes true, but that doesn’t change the origins and the under lying theme of the whole process. The mix of all these pilgrims from different climes and cultures is wonderful and necessary but it doesn’t change the roadbed of it all, the foundation of it all. And ultimately Christ’s message is for everyone. Everyone is invited.
Christ is termed the Way, the Truth and the Life. In Spanish the Way is translated to Camino. This is what this Beatitude speaks of, this idea or this process. This is the inner pilgrimage that we are invited to join up with. How this works is mysterious but it is not complicated. It is open to anyone ad everyone.
This so much causes so many memories to pop up. How fun! And there were so many memories, more than can possibly be remembered unfortunately. Most are gone somewhere where things like that go. For the most part they were not the big gaudy events or spectacles but casual quiet happenings. Maybe it was a matter of us physically slowing down to a walking pace. Maybe it was that we were present. Maybe we were on that particular wavelength.
It could have been the shape of a cloud or it’s shadow that covered part of a hillside. It could have been a hillside, or the mountain side or the roadside. It could have been the road as it stretched off forever ahead. It could have been the forever or maybe something smaller like a dewdrop. But maybe the dewdrop lived large and refracted a rainbow to our eyes. Maybe it was the eye of a stranger who wasn’t a stranger for long.
They were just random bonuses there for the taking. They were little party favors scattered ahead of us for our benefit. The party was grueling but fun.
I just want to expand on the Alligator/Crocodile sightings.
I’m amazed at how we all walk the Camino and yet see many things in different ways.
I remember clearly the day I left Fisterra for Muxia. My original plan was to stop walking at Fisterra and take a bus to Muxia only to find that busses did not run that day.
I left early that morning on foot.
Not many Pilgrims on this part.
At one point I saw a lone Pilgrim in the distance. I slowly came closer just as he wandered off the path and started walking across a newly tilled vegetable garden which obviously belonged to the nearby farm house. I felt outranged at this seemingly inconsiderate act. About halfway into the garden my fellow pilgrim came to a sudden stopped and kneeled on the ground beside the pea netting which was strung across the garden. After taking a more careful look I realized why this Pilgrim had walked over the garden. I followed and joined him. Both kneeling, in silence, we slowly untangled a little bird that was caught in the netting………..
A Camino lesson for yours truly.
Another of the many personal lessons that I was given was to slow down my walking pace. On more than one occasion I had picked up my pace only to have a Snail come out of the grass beside me and cross my path………