Tuesday, 23 February 2010

We are Pilgrims on the journey!

Yeah! I know this has been a long week,and this post is really 10 days overdue. First lesson of Pilgrimage;nothing quite goes as you expect it. Sorry anyhow.
A number of things have been happening to me in the days since I last posted here. One of them is that I am going to Spain on Monday. This coming Monday 1st March. You may have already worked out that I lead a small confraternity in the middle of England. This fraternity has struck up a friendship with two wonderful supporters of pilgrims who live on the Camino. They are real friends to all who stop by at their place. Anyway this friendship is developing into something practical and useful that allows us be more involved with other pilgrims as they pass thought their hands. For us it is a halfway house to establishing an Albergue of our own. So, I and another member are going to make a visit to them to see their place and cement the friendship. We will be there two nights with the day between to talk and see how they are. But after that......... we are free to go off on a short pilgrimage of a few days, call it a Lenten retreat, Yippee.
We have decided that it would be a good thing to go for a Compostela for the collection, and that means that we must end up at Santiago. I have walked the Camino from St Jean, and also the way up from Oporto. So we have decided to set off from Ourense. 110k . Far enough, but not that far. It has however produced some interesting and I must say surprising thoughts in my head.It has occurred to me that these are exactly the questions that I had in my mind before I went on my first pilgrimage. Questions such as:- Will there be Albergues on the way? Will they be open? Do these folk who give advise on the forum really know what they are talking about? Will it be very cold or will I die on a hillside somewhere for want of food and somewhere to stay?
Now I know for my own experience that the answer to all these questions is that things will be fine. It will be great time. That does not stop the doubts for long. It has helped me see more clearly once again, what it is like to be a novice pilgrim. The answer to me and everyone is held in the wonderful words of Lady Julian of Norwich: All will be well, and all manner of things will be well!
Julian's words call us to faith that what lies ahead is safe and supported by people who know what they are doing. Julian is speaking about the whole of life. This in itself helps us begin to realise that the little worked example of life that we call a pilgrimage is meant to be writ large on our lives. That it is though this nursery experience of pilgrimage that we learn, maybe for the first time what it is to walk by faith.
If you are planning your first pilgrimage, watch the way that the faith you have now that it will be ok turns into the solid assurance of sellos in your credential.And in the words of a sixties song, 'Put your hand into the hands of the man who walked on water'.
The lesson, walk by faith and let others take the load. All will be well.

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