The First Few Stages...

May 13, 2018 - I reached Pamplona today. It is the 4th day of walking. We have had cloudy, sometimes rainy, weather. Still it has been beautiful.

I tend to get out early in the morning, usually at 6:30 am or before. People start stirring in the alburgues before that, and it is hard laying there trying to sleep, so I get up and get going!

One of the benefits of getting out at this time is you are already walking when the sun rises. On days when it is clear, it is simply spectacular. On days when it is cloudy or raining, there is still something beautiful about watching the grey and the shadows being chased away by the light. I am happy to be walking at this time of day.

Most mornings, I am by myself, except for the birds, which have seen fit to encourage my progress by singing to me. Today, I had the added treat of walking past a man who was singing to himself. The words were in Spanish, but the tunes were familiar. One song was "O Come All Ye Faithful", to which I sang along in my head as I walked past. I was grateful for his voice.

Yesterday, I was walking to Zubri. On the way you pass through a small town with the most beautiful white building. just as I was passing through, the church bells began to ring. It was glorious.

So glorious in fact, that I was distracted and passed my turn, not noticing the yellow arrow. Within twenty-five yards a car slowed, and the driver motioned for me to go back. he then passed me and stopped at the spot where I should have turned and pointed the way. An act of kindness for sure, but at that moment, I remembered four years ago the exact same thing happened, in the exact same spot. I wondered if it was the same man!

The first week or so of the Camino is about getting your legs under you, and having your body adjust to walking such long distances day after day. I am feeling it, but thankfully not as bad as last time. There are no assurances that I, or anyone I am walking with, will make it to the end. All any of us can do is take care of ourselves the best we can and keep walking.

Internally, I am noticing a shift in my posture from my last Camino. While I am meeting some wonderful people, and I cannot wait to see what kind of Camino family may form, I do not feel the need to try and make something happen. I am content with God bringing who He will, when He will.

Like today. Ten kilometers into the walk, a woman named Helen caught up with me. Over the next six kilometers we had a wonderful conversation about everything from leadership, marriage, consulting and even a sprinkling of faith. She then had to find a post office to mail things home and I walked on.

Who knows if we will ever see one another, let alone walk together again. Not knowing forces you to live in the moment. As one woman named Rochelle shared, "because you don't know if you will ever see the person again, you talk about the important stuff, not wanting to miss what the person might want to share with you."

Oh that we would all walk through life like this. Why not experiment doing it today.

Buen Camino!

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