Arriving in Santiago

Our final day of walking the Camino was one of contrasts. We got up early and walked in darkness as the day was dawning, sheer magic. There was a hush over everything we had come to love enough to leave our (also loved) beds! Everything seemed so exquisitely simple and clear.

Arriving into peak hour traffic was hectic finding our way until we reached the old city where it was mainly on foot, cars banished. We were struggling with sadness that we would not be walking like that again and also a bit overwhelmed in having to deal with the crowds and negotiate the complexities of finding our way around. And trying not to have expectations of how this time would be.

Gaining the Cathedral was a disorienting time, sorry no final pilgrim photo (the portico is under scaffold) we had to dispose of our mochilas, no backpacks inside…we felt blessed to have front row seats (Derek commented the ferociousness we needed to retain them was worthy of James the Moorslayer) and to be part of a beautiful Mass, after which the drama and exhilaration of the botofumiero swinging did not disappoint.

Reentering a more congested space with competing demands in non-natural surroundings left us all a bit discombobulated. It was a strange time, a sense of void with our usual rituals of recent weeks no longer needed. We felt the loss of the simplicity we had so enjoyed, with the return of our suitcases we had sent here. Our Camino way of life was passing.

We all tried different things… laundromat, haircut, drawing and reading back over Camino notes. Gathering for meditation and a meal in the evening allowed us to share how it was, and a big group hug before a great sleep (with Paul dreaming of talking with Father John) saw us this morning arrived and renewed. A fresh sense of enjoying the gift of days left to us arises, with our Camino learnings very much part of it.

Today we have wonderfully strolled in and around the Cathedral and this beautiful town, encouraged to find our relaxed manner returning.

Paul comments “I am already delighting in the major lesson the Camino taught me, that was around patience, both inner and outer. As Teresa of Avila said “patience obtains all things”. The Camino feels like a great metaphor for life and death and so in finishing I definitely feel a direct experience of a small death which I think will awaken my gratitude for the now of life.

I hoped that Camino would bring me into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Until yesterday I was not sure that that had happened. But after the Mass yesterday we met a wonderful man called John who was a priest. He was humble, simple and beautiful. I felt I was with Jesus as he shared time with us. I felt very blessed by this encounter. Jesus is ever available to me if I just relax and enjoy “existential encounters” as John said.”

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. (Teresa of Avila)

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