Day 28 - To Sarria

June 24, 2014 - Distance Traveled (By Bus): 18.7 km -

We all got up and readied ourselves to set out for the day. I still did not know if I would be able to walk, but I was not going to give up until I had to. It only took walking halfway across the grass field in front of the albergue before I knew I would not be walking anywhere today. By the time we reached the road, I told Emilie and Allison the harsh news. They were as disappointed as I was.

We went into the cafe which had been kind enough to provide me with ice the day before, and ordered breakfast. I don't think any of us really felt like eating. I knew Emilie was meeting her parents in Santiago on the 28th and needed to keep moving. I could tell she and Allison felt torn. I wanted them to continue on. I knew even if they stayed, there were no guarantees I would be walking tomorrow. We all knew they had to go, but this was not how or where any of us thought we would part company. We all put on good faces and spent the time trying to keep it light, rather than focusing too much on the circumstances of the current situation. I wanted our last moments together to be good ones.

We asked the barista how I could get a taxi to Sarria. He told us that there would be a bus going there in a half an hour, and pointed out where it picked people up down the street. Emilie and Allison carried my pack between them, as I hobbled behind, to the spot. When we got to the corner, they offered to stay until the bus arrived. I insisted they start walking. I did not want to delay them any longer, and I did not want to drag out saying goodbye. It was hard enough as it was. It was even harder to watch them walk away. It has been such a gift to have them as fellow wayfarers on this journey. I have walked with Emilie for 26 days.

Less than two hours later, I found myself sitting on the Camino, where it works its way through the town of Sarria. On the bus getting here, I met a man who is walking with his wife. He was injured days ago, and now rides from town to town as she continues to walk. He was quite an encouragement and went out of his way to make sure I got to where I thought I needed to be.

The first thing I did when he left was text my wife and let her know I will not be walking today, and there is a real possibility I will not be walking any further. My eyes filled with tears as I typed the words. She reminded me that I wanted this journey to be a physical manifestation of the internal/spiritual journey I have been on. Given that fact, she said it does not surprise her that this has happened. She encouraged me to look for what God is doing in the midst of it.

I found an albergue which allowed me to check in early. It was very kind of them to do so. Now, I am at the corner bar pictured above, icing my ankle, and praying I can somehow nurse it back to health in the next 48 hours.

A little later, while sitting outside of my albergue, I watched a band go by. I have no idea what they were celebrating, but I soon felt like doing so myself.

When Emilie and Allison walked away this morning, I thought I would now be alone. However, people I have walked with for most of this journey are starting to make their way into town and pass by where I am sitting. Most stop to ask how I am doing and to wish me well.

By lunch time, people like Jonathan and his father Andrew make their way into town. We share lunch and they check into the place I am staying. Some of the people who came to my rescue, like the man who wrapped my ankle also shows up. They moves in as well. I am sitting on my bunk, massaging my ankle when Jeff and Debbie from Arizona walk in. They are staying too. By the end of the afternoon, I am anything but alone. The place I am staying is full of people I know. This is such a gracious gift. It is what my heart desperately needed. Scripture say two are better than one, for when one falls down, the other can pick him up. Ever since I was injured, I have felt picked up.

Throughout the day and into the night, I ice my ankle every twenty minutes and massage it in between. The bar owner has let me know I can have as much ice as I need. The internet has informed me the clicking I feel is probably a tendon out of its grove, rather than a broken bone. People back at home and all along the Camino (word travels fast through social media) are praying. Tomorrow, I will use the rest day I have been holding in reserve. I am hoping and praying, the day after that, I will be walking.

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