Saturday, March 24, 2012

In my pilgrimage from Seville, I found the solution at a rate that has fed me long after I arrived in Santiago

made me ask "Why?" with new urgency, when I flew to Seville. Who in their right mind decide to walk, from Seville to Santiago, about 600 miles, on your own? It had seemed a good idea when I thought about what I do on my sabbatical. I was invited to visit, somehow, and "yes" seemed the obvious answer. But now that the reality this morning, I was terrified, it was a ridiculous idea. I lose, I get blisters, they do not all the way, I feel stupid, I would be a pilgrim.

"lack of preparation is preparing to fail", a friend of mine told teenagers, with a wisdom beyond his years. And I remembered, I was ready. He had walked to and from the work of Spanish and back, almost anywhere and back. I had taken care to increase my mileage each week. Now, having arrived in Seville, the only thing to do was to create fear and anxiety aside and start walking. So I put on my first day, greeted the statue of Saint-Jacques in the great cathedral of the city and began searching the yellow arrows to guide the pilgrims on their way to Saint Jacques de Compostela. I was on my way.

I traveled with a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, who reminded me that the road is not there to be "conquered" as if it were an enemy: the empty path is there to greet you, you wear and give you peace. The Gospel story of the risen Jesus with his disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, was close to my heart and received communion in some churches of the people, moved by the welcome they gave me as pilgrim.

But it was unexpected for me sacramental experience just walking every day, across large landscapes. RS Thomas concludes his poem The Moor with the line: "I was walking, simple and poor, while the air crumbled and broke on me generously as bread." That is, for me sums up my pilgrimage, a journey on which he fed and fed in a manner not expected. Upon arrival in Santiago was amazing and the cathedral in all its beauty always a wonderful house back guy. But is the way, step by step on the road, I have under my skin. Five years later is still there.

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