Starting At The End

Feb 23, 2018 - I remember my last hours in Spain in 2014, as I headed home from the Camino. They almost felt like a final exam on all that I learned.

I was in the airport and had just been asked to step out of the ticket line. I was told my flight had been delayed. I knew this meant I would not be making my connection in Chicago. When I asked how to go about rectifying the situation, I was instructed to go and see customer service, which did not open for another half hour. It appeared getting home was not going to be as uneventful as I had anticipated.

I went and stood at the darkened counter and waited. It had been a season of learning how to wait. Finding myself in this place should have not been a surprise.

There wasn’t a soul in sight. The solitude gave me a few moments to align my heart with some of what I desired to take home from the Camino. Rather than exercising my will to try and control the situation, I wanted to simply be willing to trust that something good might be birthed by what on the surfaced seemed like a frustrating inconvenience.

To make a long story short, I encountered an airline employees who went out of her way to put me on a different plane, routing me through a different city. I arrived home hours earlier than expected, and the flight that was delayed ended up never taking off that day. Being pulled out of line was a gift.

Given all of this, I should have expected as I began planning for my trip this year, I would be invited to begin where I ended. When searching for flights, I found a great price on a ticket, and booked it immediately. I did not realize it came with a catch. The fare would not allow me to reserve seats. When I called the airline, I found out the ticket was discounted because it is sold to fill in the unwanted seats after everyone else has chosen theirs.

While I was a bit frustrated this was not made clear before I booked the flight, my immediate thought was, Maybe this is an opportunity to simply be open and willing to whatever may come. It was a little exciting to think of what I might experience or who I might meet if I just went with it.

My wife, however, encouraged me to think about the length of the fight, my height, and the reality of a middle seat. She convinced me, since I still had time to cancel the flight, to call the airlines, cancel the flight and book a fair which would allow me to choose a seat.

When I talked to the representative at the airlines and kindly explained why I needed to cancel my flight, she asked me to hold. After a few minutes, she passed me on to a supervisor, who had the authority to override the system and reserve my seats. This was totally unexpected. I am now flying to Spain on a great fare and in decent seats. I am grateful.

In some ways, it is just a little thing, but the unexpected way it took place and worked out awakens in me anticipation for what this journey will hold and the blessings that will be revealed as I walk with an open and willing heart.

It feels like it is getting real, and I am very excited about that.

Speaking of real, training has been going well. It has also reminded me that this journey will not be easy. I have been walking on nature trails, sidewalks, and over steep hills. My goal is to walk a Camino before I leave for the Camino. I began with 100 days to walk 1,000,000 steps (or 500 miles). With a quarter of the training days complete, I have walked 294,765 steps, or 29.47% of my goal. I am on track to finish the day before I board the plane.

I cannot wait to share the journey with you.

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