Leaving Spain

Celebratory lunch after the pilgrim Mass, Finisterre and Paul Painting Finisterre

As we prepare to fly home tomorrow Paul and I have been reflecting over recent days at Finisterre, the traditional Camino end for pilgrims. Before Derek and Beate left to continue their sabbatical time in Assisi, we pondered together Joyce Rupp’s words to us, echoed in different ways by others, that it will take time and some distance for the full meaning to be revealed. She and others have suggested we will return to a life that will never be quite the same.

While we are all open to these suggestions, what seems true at this moment is that the Camino has been like a preparing of the soil, seeds have been sown perhaps, how they grow we do not know. We watch and wait hopefully, attentively and in trust.

As with the listening, it is a discernment how much to (consciously) “arrange” processing our Camino experience and how much to “allow” it to be in us in its own time, given that our regular lives are about to return to claiming our daily attention.

For each of us it has been a precious time to take stock of what our lives include and to value (and hopefully increase) the good and decrease what does not carry life for us. For Paul and I in our 43rd year of marriage, it has been a unique opportunity to be together with friends in the spirit in a rich and layered experience in the extraordinary beauty and variety of the playground which is the gift of the created world.

Roland Ashby’s conversation with Michael Leunig resonates… “One of your greatest gifts is that you haven’t lost a sense of enchantment, wonder and beauty, and indeed for you it appears that the apparently simple — birds, trees, flowers etc — and even the apparently ordinary and mundane — teapots and wheelbarrows for example — are a great source of joy”. ML replies “that is true. It seems at this point in life it is a wise, practical way to be — that you can find much in little…(so) to be enchanted, it’s an efficient state of being…we can learn to do with a lot less if we can learn to slow down and still ourselves. We have got to be more genuinely happy with less — something which is entirely possible.”

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