Today we made lots of progress on the Camino. The pilgrims in our group vary in age from the mid-50s to age 75. Each person walks at his or her own pace. We walk in a relaxed manner, companioning those who walk at a similar pace.
We share stories, listen and ask questions. We pause, sit on a wall and talk with a fellow pilgrim. Sometimes we walk alone. In the silence and solitude thoughts and memories come to us. We dialogue with God. The Spirit guides our contemplation.
The Camino cleanses the soul. The pressures of daily life evaporate. I am always happy on the Camino. There is no edge, no agenda, no rush, no email, nothing to distract. The Camino is a way of being in the world and being with others.
We stop to stare in awe at the beauty of the mountains. A colorful bug crosses our path. Bells of unseen cows ring in the distance. The sight of heather and yellow flowers capture our attention. Nature speaks to us of God.
Finally, we reach the Hill of Remembrance or La Cruz de Ferro. Pilgrims look forward to reaching this location with great anticipation. Each carries of stone or two to lay at this sacred spot. The stones symbolize something significant for the person who places it before the cross. It is our life, our losses, our loves, our dreams, our past, our future.
Here the Rev. Spencer Reece meets Sergio, an American bicycling the Camino with a prosthetic leg. Sergio lost his leg in a car accident. He battled alcoholism for many years. Now, he’s sober and courageous enough to bicycle across Spain alone. Spencer tells Sergio, “I have been sober for 31 year, mi hermano.” The two men hug. It is a Camino moment, a moment of profound connection. We stand on holy ground.
On the way to the country inn, we pass the Knights Templar fortress in Ponferrada. Knight protected the pilgrims much like soldiers protect us today. We take those who protect us so for granted.
Before dinner, we have a wine tasting. We taste eight wines produced along the way of the Camino. Each is unique. We listen and learn.
Life is rich. We are blessed. All our senses are engaged. Our hearts are full. God is good.
With love and prayers from Spain,