I just spent a wonderful long weekend in Black Mountain, NC (just east of Asheville) at the American Pilgrims on the Camino, 22nd Annual Gathering of Pilgrims, held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly. It has been three years since I’ve walked the Camino de Santiago, so this experience came at a perfect time to be re-minded.
One of the things that always appealed to me while walking in Spain was the depth of conversation that would result from the simple question, “So what brings you here?” Often, I wouldn’t even know their name, but inward we’d go, and without a shred of shame or reservation. I’d walk away in wonder – not only about what was discussed, but the perfection of our meeting in that place, at that time, with the contents of our hearts opened.
So I’m home again in Connecticut after a long ride with a great friend. Once more, I’m held in wide wonder at what is possible when just for a moment, we can unapologetically be with each other just as we are, with the imperfection of our humanity and our love for each other laid bare.
One more thing…I ran across these beatitudes while at the Gathering. Their source is unknown, translated from the original Spanish. Even if you haven’t walked in Spain, you’ve walked. So pilgrim, take a moment and hold them to your heart. Buen Camino.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you find that the Camino opens your eyes to the unseen.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if what concerns you is not arriving, but arriving with the others.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, when you contemplate the sights of the Camino and find them full of names and new dawns.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if your backpack empties of things as your heart doesn’t know where to fit so many emotions.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover that a step backwards to help another is more valuable than one hundred forward without awareness of those at your sides.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, when you have no words to give thanks for all the wonders of the Camino.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you seek truth and make of your Camino a life and of your life a Camino, after that which is the Way, the Life, and the Truth.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if on the Camino you meet yourself and give yourself the gift of time without hurry, so that you not neglect your heart.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you find that the Camino is rich in silence, and the silence is rich with prayers, and the prayers are encounters with the Father that awaits you.
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover that the true Camino begins at its end.