Last night I met my first pilgrim. Sebastian from Columbia. We were both staying in the same Albergue. He left Fatima, the same time as me, two days ago. He walked past the Casa Rural in Caxarias by 2 km. It broke his heart to turn back. So he soldiered forward and slept in a forest that night. He arrived here in Ansiao at 7:30 p.m. He told me that the heat from 1:30 pm till 6:00 wiped him out. I thought what good fortune I have had in arriving just when the sun came out and heated up the place.
He said he wants to bring his 92 yr old dad to the Camino next year. He will get an all terrain wheelchair and push him when he is tired walking. What a desire. Most days I cannot take care of myself. That is courage.
In our conversation he spoke about doing the Camino three yers ago. The same year I did. He walked for over 1000 Km and never got a blister. He confessed, “this time I got blisters on my first day. My inner pilgrim is not working well”.
His inner pilgrim! What a great concept. Today as I left, I meditated on the notion of an inner pilgrim and what was his condition? This morning I left at 6:00 a.m. again. My first day looking for arrows and shells to guide the way. I was disoriented for a short while. Then the church bell played the Ave Maria. I found my way.
For the first four hours there was incredible joy. My inner pilgrim was alive and life looked very good. My first stop at 7:45 was just long enough to get breakfast and then back on the trail. My inner pilgrim and I were connected, All morning I walked off road. Through gardens and tracks and trails I walked. Hardly did I cross a road. It was pure joy. I could not be happier.
Then I had a choice to make between a longer path off road and a much more direct path on road. Let’s just say my inner pilgrim did not choose. From then the day went down hill. I could have stopped in Rabacal that would have been 18 Km. I reasoned with my self too short a day. But the next Albergue was 11 Km away. I went for it. It was still cool although the sun was out. That is just over two hours of walking.
40 minutes in, I regretted the decision. My inner pilgrim wilted as the sun got hotter. I arrived in Conimbriga with no water, depleted and my inner pilgrim was not happy.
When making decisions do we consult our inner pilgrim? Or do we use practical reason? Is the result the same if we do and if we do not?
During the second half of my walk, the scenery was beautiful. But I could not enjoy it. My inner pilgrim was not happy.
Click here to view other pilgrimage reflections