My Journey to the Camino de Santiago

With so many things swirling around in my head about work, life, family, friends, and relationships its hard to imagine that there will be a day that I will be out in this big wide world all alone on the Camino de Santiago. Of course I won’t really be alone, I just won’t have the comforts of home, like lifelong friends and family. I know new friends are waiting and I am so curious as to what I will encounter along The Way.

But all that is really for another post. My mission right now is to figure out what my life means before I go. What does my journey look like on my way to the Camino? For about the last four months there has been some confusion on my part as to what life was all about. Why do we work so hard to get somewhere when the only thing that happens when we arrive is the rug gets pulled out from under us….or the entire flipping carpet, flooring and sub-floor; forget about just the rug. You know you are on a journey of self-discover when the floor you had been standing on melts beneath your feet as you struggle to stay standing.

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve gained my footing, I’m standing pretty straight again, but things will  never be the same. The floor may get rebuilt, but the cracks that will remain will forever be a reminder that life sometimes comes crashing down upon us. It is how we handle these situations that show us what we are truly made of. I know for me it really wasn’t that pretty. I was scared, I was angry….really angry, resentful and definitely felt the love drain from my body. But I’m back now, the floor is still in pieces and lays crumbled beneath me, but it doesn’t look as scary as it once did. I feel like a six-year-old playing on a pile of rubble and making the best out of the sticks, splinters, sawdust and nails. I have no idea what I am creating, but at least I’m not just sitting on top of the pile crying my eyes out….not that I haven’t done that from time to time, but for the most part I’m enjoying the process of building something from the pieces.

I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn. About life, death, being a good person, being a good friend, being someone the world needs.

What I know is that I have amazing friends, that I am loved, I have a fabulous community to call home, and the words family and friends are interchangeable in my life.

I have also learned that I love deeply and believe it or not, that isn’t always a good thing to all people, but I also know that the love I have inside of me has the ability to make a difference and for that I am truly grateful.

My journey to the Camino de Santiago is paved with the encouragement of great friends, both new and old. Time and again the Camino has come into my existence. First with the movie The Way, by Emilio Estevez. I watched it once and was slightly intrigued. Then at two different conferences El Camino came up again. It was after the first conference and before that second that I felt as if I was to go on El Camino. Then I met someone who had actually been on the pilgrimage, he convinced me to go alone. Me?….alone? In Spain? On El Camino? A former Me would have laughed knowing there was no way I could do that, but the moment he said I should go alone, and with his encouraging words of ‘you can do this’, I knew to the depths of my soul that he was right. I will be going alone…with the 1000’s of other pilgrims that are going alone of course….so, at least I know I will be in good company. I know there will be good friends waiting for me on the Camino de Santiago, I wonder if they are as excited about the journey as I am.

Yes, this will be an amazing, life-changing trip and I am looking forward to the challenges it is going to bring, as well as the clarity and inspiration that will surely accompany me along The Way.

I have to let you know though that this is more than just a vacation to a country rich in history and beauty. This trip is more than the planning, the itineraries, the packing of my backpack and the goodbyes I will say before I go. A higher power and the Camino are pulling me to it. Something is there, waiting for me to discover. It is hard to explain, but me not going is not a possibility, it is as if the road to Santiago craves to have my feet step onto its dusty path and it won’t stop nudging me until I arrive. The nudges have continued as the Camino continues to come into my existence, time and again, and as many times that is has happened over the past four months it is hard to believe I had no idea this walk existed before that.

The life changes that are in store for me are unknown and a bit worrisome, but the road to Santiago holds promise of emotional healing for what lies ahead between now and then, and for that I am already grateful.

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