For several years I had it in my mind that I wanted to walk some of the Camino de Santiago, the old pilgrim trail that ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The history intrigued me, that the first pilgrim to make the journey was St James who walked from Jerusalem. The story is told that hundreds of years later, his bones were discovered by a monk, and the bones were taken to be enshrined in Santiago where he ended that first pilgrimage. Maybe not 400 miles for me, but maybe I could do some of it….and just maybe, I could get Jack to walk it with me. He did.
Walking Deadstream Road and some of the paths in the woods and dunes around here never really prepared me for that first day. It ended up being 18 miles. Though we started out each day with a group of friends, I was by far the slowest walker. About mile 14 when we were on a little rise and could see a small town way in the distance, I almost cried as I said to Jack, “What are we going to do?” In his tired, calm voice he said, “I guess we don’t have much choice…” and off we walked, one foot in front of the other. In our 10 days of walking, that’s how a lot of days ended!
I can tell you that there was great joy in reaching the Cathedral in Santiago, receiving the
certificate that acknowledged we had walked about 140 miles and hugging and greeting friends we had met along the way. When we went to the Pilgrim Mass on our last morning, heard the organ play and watched the incense fill the nave, chills went down my body. It was an
incredible feeling to know that we had just walked where Pilgrims have journeyed for centuries. I can’t really put it all into words.
Yet, back here on in Honor, in the day to day of my faith walk, often the walk is all about just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s knowing that others have walked this way before us, that we walk together and that in Christ, we never have to walk alone.
Judy Harnish, Author