Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pilgrimage – Walking El Camino de Santiago
By Deborah Schafer

Initially Kristen, my daughter, had asked for a book on the Camino for Christmas 2012, and it really shocked me, because when I was her age I had read about it and wanted to do this pilgrimage but never told anyone because it was so out of my league. I just did not take those type of risks, going to countries that do not speak English, hiking up and over mountains. I didn't like to get too physical....but I sensed that this was the time. Kris could take the summer off, and I would just retire. So at 61 I started working out for the first time in my life. I knew I would have to leave my precious comfort zone behind, so I promised myself I would not object to the weather. This was a big deal to me, but as it turned out, only the beginning. I learned that I bring a lot of resistance to most things I do. And that is the purpose in the end to taking risks-to become vulnerable to events in a way that you find out what you are made of. I found my precious identity beneath all that comfort zone. And I saw into the hearts of others as they helped me, guided me, and walked with me. I know something about myself now, and others, and I feel so much more a participant in life instead of an observer.

Subject: Camino news
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:18:34 -0500

Hey, are you guys pilgrims?  This was the first recognition of us as pilgrims, standing on the train platform in Bordeaux, from a man and his family looking for their train to Bayonne, and then to St. Jean Pied du Port.  Pilgrims themselves, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, we would meet them two more times before beginning our journey the next day.  It felt surreal being recognized as part of this larger scheme of things, and signaled the beginning for me of this journey. 

Maybe it was a good thing I did not know we would have to travel straight up a mountain at a 45 degree angle for a day when we left St. Jean, and then travel the following day in bitterly cold rain over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, arriving late in the day so cold we could not hold the pen to sign in.  And maybe it was a good thing I did not know we would leave the next morning in wet clothes in pouring rain to travel to Burgette, just 3 km away, where we picked up a hotel room at the Hotel Burgette, where Hemingway used to sojourn, and was given his room at 9:00 in the morning so we could fall into bed for the day and recover.