Day 29 - In Sarria

June 25, 2014 - Distance Traveled: 0 km

While I has already decided I would not be walking, giving my ankle a chance to heal, I got up at my normal time and went outside the albergue. The street was still and quite. Soon rest of the pilgrims would be waking and setting out for the day. In the quietness of the early morning hours, knowing the albergue would shortly be deserted.

My ankle felt markedly better than yesterday. For a moment, I thought about walking the 3 kilometers to the next village, thinking it might allow it to loosen up without straining it too much. Jay had told me there wasn't much there. His suggestion was I should stay put. It seems like wise advice. If my ankle improves half as much as it did since yesterday, I think I will be walking tomorrow. I will take his advice and spend the day continuing my routine of ice and massage. The Alburgue has already told me I can stay an extra night, something they normally don't allow, except for injury or illness. There are restaurants and stores close by so this is really an ideal location.

While that all felt good, the ideas that today, all these people would be walking on made me feel sad. I would now be falling behind the group we had be in sync with for most of our journey.

The sadness did not last long. While the other pilgrims were packing up and heading out, I sat down in the common area and checked facebook (there is wifi almost everywhere on the Camino. A small village that seems like it has not changed for 500 years may not have a store, but they will have wifi). On my page was a note from these four. It simply said, “We are coming Ron!!!! Can't wait to see you tonight!” It lifted my spirits and made me feel loved. With so many praying back at home and with Rolando, Rachel, Amy and Helen coming to be with me, things were looking up. Once again , I am being pick up.

Most of the morning I spent being faithful to my routine that I hope will bring healing. I desperately want to know whether or not I will be able to continue to walk. Yet, all I can do is wait, rest, care for his ankle and trust. This is a hard place to be, but as my wife pointed out, it is probably no accident I am here. I believe there is potential to see God work in unexpected and amazing ways, which I cannot even fathom at this moment, if i choose to look for what God might be doing or saying right here in the waiting. It is not easy, but I try to hold this throughout the day.

I have developed a relationship with the owner of the cafe/bar. I think he is pulling for me and wants me to continue as much as I do. This stranger's encouragement and concern is a gift.

Around lunch time, Father Stephen arrives. He sits at my table and asks how I am doing. When he find out where I am staying, he checks in to the same place. Soon his tribe arrives and the table is full of people. I knew the Kiwis and Roland would be arriving late in the day, they have to cover 35 kilometers to catch up to me, but I did not expect to be spending the afternoon with our Camino cousins. Their presence feels like a lavish gift.

I start walking the short distance from our albergue to the church which is located back up the street once an hour. In part to start to loosen my ankel, and in part because I am excited to see my friends walking down the Camino. I have already reserved beds for them at the albergue and will treat them to dinner tonight.

They don't arrive until after 5 pm. When they do, I am flooded with emotion. Their willingness to come to my aid feels like such an act of selfless love. I am humbled by it.

After they get settled, we head to dinner. How good it is to sit around a table and share a meal with these people. My Camino family have brought a man named Tom with them. He is from France. At one point he says, "Ron, we French do not think very highly of you Americans." This comment creates an awkward silence, which I let build, and then I reply, "Tom, that is OK, because we Americans do not think very highly of the French." The tension is broken and every one laughs.

The night feels like a celebration. I hate for it to end, but that is the only way I will discover if I will be able to walk tomorrow. I want to with every fiber of my being, but if I cannot, the last two days have been a significant healing experince for my heart.

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