Day 9 - Santo Domingo

June 5, 2017 - Distance Traveled - 21 km -

Unlike yesterday, when we departed separately and found our own way to Najera, today we walked together. The pace was much slower than the day before, a welcomed for all of us. By now, I am feeling pretty good walking 21 km in at day. At one point, I actually found myself thinking I could easily press past Santa Domingo to the next city. Then I remembered, I am meeting a friend in Sarria, on the 25th of June. Getting farther ahead is not benefit to me. It would only cause me to have to slow down later. This preordained appointment keeps me from rushing through the Camino. In a very real way that fact it is a gift. I began to wonder, what if there is another preordained appointment God has for me in this season of transition which is also and invitation not to rush, but to be willing to simply be attentive to the pace life dictates in the moment or season? Could it be trying to press forward to quickly might also be of little to no benefit.

We saw this makeshift stand and decided it was a good place to rest.

I had been looking for this spot. I did not know exactly where it was, so I was anticipating coming across it for last few days. I first saw it in a photo I had found online. I was given permission by the photographer to use it in launching my Kickstarter. I had looked at the picture so many times and wondered what it would be like to actually stand on this part of the Camino. I do not have to wonder any longer. To take what was only an image on a page and be able to step into it in real life was a gift.

Once again, we catch up with Annemarie and Josef. The were not stopping in Santa Domingo, only taking a break. Still, it gave us an opportunity to swap stories. I never knew when seeing Annemarie if it would be the last time our paths would cross.

Before we arrived in Santa Domingo, Marta informed us it was her last day of walking. She would catch a bus the next day to Burgous and from there a train to the city from which she would fly home to Italy. She was savoring her walk and took her time getting to town. While we were waiting for you, she us a text telling us she was thinking of going on and not stopping here. We worked hard to convince her to stay. She did, but she booked herself in a different albergue so there would be no goodbyes in the morning.

Marta only joined our group in Pampolona but she quickly became part of their cohort. She would be the first to leave the group. Up till now, we had not thought about what this experience would be like. We always want the circle of community to be ever expanding, but that is not life. For me, and maybe many of you, even having one person exit the circle is hard. Sometimes, the experience can cause us to shrink back and not enter into friendships whole hearted for fear of this very thing.

Yet, the experience of this passionate Italian was totally worth the loss we would now feel. The Camino is like that...people come into your life for a day or two or week and then they move out. I was discovering you cannot hold back because of the fear of how it will hurt when you say goodbye, or you will miss out on the richness of the relationship of those right there alongside you.

There are many beautiful pieces of art in the Cathedral at Santo Domingo.

Along with the art, you will find chickens. There is a story associated with Santo Domingo which involves the miracle of a chicken coming back to life. Since then, a chicken has been afforded a place of honor in this cathedral.

Even though we are pilgrims, we are not above engaging in a little good humored tourist activity.

If you have been making your way through my posts, you recognize Marta, Junyoung and Yavidan. The other six men were from Italy. I do not know their names, but I often share the Camino with them early in the morning. We pass one another back and forth for the first few hours of the day. Though we cannot speak one another's language, we are able to communicate with and watch out for one another. In the evenings, you often find Marta setting outside of the albergue with them, conversing in their native tongue. I will sometimes sit among them, not understanding a word, but enjoying the energy and passion with which the Italian language is used by them to speak to one another. I will miss the life brought by Marta.

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