Santiago - Arriving and Still Arriving

July 5, 2008 - Day 33, Arrived in Santiago, 20 km

I have arrived! My only thought this morning was getting to Santiago. The skies cooperated with beautiful breaking clouds and blue skies. What a reunion with pilgrims who I met along the Way! What joy. What exhaustion. What peace. What a journey!

Of all the pilgrims I’ve reunited with in Santiago, they are all very happy. Joy is in the air, smiles abound.

It’s good to be here. Tears came as I stood outside the Cathedral. Tears came as I walked in the cathedral. Tears came as I sat. Tears came as the pilgrim worship took place. Tears came as I watched pilgrim after pilgrim arrive. All of us together. All of us pilgrims. All of us arriving.

Being in the cathedral brings me peace and quiet. I visited the relics of St. James and cried there too. It is indeed a holy place. Maybe it’s true - St. James has been waiting for me. I made it to Santiago but could not have done it alone. The community of pilgrims, the communion of saints, friends and family, God, and the power of the Way of St. James all guided me. There are so many unseen arrows that show me the way. I pray that I continue to open my eyes to the yellow arrows in my life.

During dinner as we all said cheers someone said, “Now the real Camino begins. Buen Camino!”

July 5, 2018 - Still Arriving

I had hoped to write a few more posts throughout this past month. I had the thoughts and ideas in my head. The directions I wanted to go. I wanted to write more and share about my Camino. I wanted to see how the Camino was still teaching me. Yet, here we are 33 days later from the first post. And now it’s the day I arrived in Santiago and there’s still more I wanted to unearth.

Yet, if the Camino is still teaching me anything, it’s that life doesn’t go in a linear, clear path. Life isn’t about checking off items from a to-do list. Life isn’t always about following through with our intentions. As much as I’d like to feel a sense of accomplishment in doing things, that hasn’t been the case.

Life is about being open to where the Spirit leads.
Life is about accepting the here and now.
Life is about being present.

The present realities of my days have been full of caring for two children. Cooking and cleaning. Organizing. Doing the dishes and putting them away. Yelling at the preschooler to stop pushing her baby brother. Reading books. Listening to screaming and tantrums. Feeding. Bathing. Building. Driving to and from speech therapy. Practicing speech at home. More dishes. More tantrums. Swinging at the park. Swimming at the pool. Picnicking with friends.

And collapsing at the end of the day.

For one week of this past month I was at home alone with the two kiddos while Stephen traveled with the church youth group for the Lutheran Youth Gathering in Houston. It was enough to take care of the kids and myself. It was enough to offer my prayers as presence and love to these children.

I had hoped to write more, but instead found God’s writing in my heart.

God’s words of love through baby kisses and giggles.
God’s peace watching sleeping children.
God’s hope hearing my daughter’s voice say new words.
God’s grace forgiving me for losing my temper.
God’s mercy bringing a new day every morning.

This is still my Camino - my walking in faith, love, and hope. My walking in community. My walking towards something deeper and more beautiful than I can imagine.

Here in my home I am not counting the miles to where I’ll find a place to sleep for the night. I’m not aching in pain. I’m not limping from blisters. I’m not eating bread and hot chocolate for breakfast. I’m not looking for bright, yellow arrows to direct my way.

But I am still walking. I am still searching. I am still praying. I am still stumbling.

And at the end of the day, I still cling to the hope that St. James is waiting for me. That he’s guiding me. That there is some truth to believing in the communion of saints. That in putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, we’re walking not alone, not walking towards something or someone, but walking within the kingdom of God.

Buen Camino.