Last Friday, I was blessed to have a lady-friend of mine named Patricia Peck come over and tell me all about her adventure walking the Camino del Santiago. It’s a medieval path taken as a pilgrimage that starts in France (Pat stayed a couple of days in Paris before she headed out and regrets it. “It’s an expensive big city and I just really wanted to get on my way.” she said) and ends at St. James Cathedral in Santiago, Spain. The scallop shell (seen in the picture on the left) and yellow arrows serve to mark the path all along the 500 mile route. Click here to read more about the way of St. James.
I made fresh coffee and apple cake and she brought with her mementos of her trip, including her daily path guide which showed her a little bit of what she could expect on her walk that day, her passport which got stamped at each place she stayed and the scrap book that her nephew’s wife had made from all of her FaceBook pictures and postings. (I used some of those same pictures here in this post.)
My friends eyes just lit up as she started talking about her trip all the way around the world, walking 500 miles through two countries all by herself.
(These aren’t her words exactly but a very close representation of what she told me. Next time, I’ll record our conversation.)
“I’m not really even sure why I wanted to go.” she said “but I knew it was something I just had to do.”
“As I was walking, I thought about what I was supposed to learn from walking 500 miles through two different countries where I don’t even speak the language.” her eyes twinkled as she told me, “I remember walking along one day, about two thirds of the way through my trip, and all I could hear were the birds, the wind, and the sound of my feet on the stone pathway and that’s when I felt it. I hadn’t seen another person for over two hours, and there were no houses or buildings of any kind in sight, I was completely alone, and that’s when I realized I wasn’t really alone at all. God was there with me. Of course, He’d always had been with me and always would be, but at that moment I completely felt His presence through me and all around me.”
I could feel tingles all over my body as she recounted this part of the story. I could see in her eyes that this moment, still present in her memory, had changed her and helped her to grow and unfold, as only a sacred gift can.
Wow! Over the next two hours she talked about all the people she met, including meeting new friends from Egypt (and getting a new hat!), sharing rooms with and sleeping next to strange people (including men) and sharing her meals and laughing with people she would never see again.
Pat had many more adventures including the time her money got stolen and an ‘angel’ helped her get back on her way. She has a special gift for meeting ‘Earth angels’, people who reach out to help from the goodness of their heart. All morning, as she told me about her trip, she kept telling me about these special people who just ‘happened’ to come along at ‘exactly the right moment’ to help her out.
I think the greatest part of her story is that all along the way she recognized the love and generosity of God and his ‘angels’. Walking along the Camino del Santiago offered Pat a chance to really experience and accept those gifts. Her sincere appreciation of God’s gifts is such a wonderful story and a gift in itself. I’m so glad she shared it with me.
Pat is thinking about turning her story into a book! I can’t wait to read it and I’ll make sure to let you know when it’ll be available.
Have a most wonderful day, my friendly blog reader.
p.s. When it’s time to feed your soul, remember to follow your passion. Even if you don’t completely understand it, you’ll grow from the effort of it.