I don’t think it’s a huge surprise to say to you guys, “Hey, I have a massive internet crush on John Blase’s poetry.”
(Side note: I also check One Page Love Story every day. But now it’s finished. See? I have a leetle bit of heart. But it’s kind of like the size of the Grinch’s heart before the little girl said he could still celebrate Christmas even though he stole all of the goodz).
These reflections on Holy Week are crazy-good. (Here’s Monday‘s. Friday’s almost too much awesome to stand, but I think you need to work into it, K? It’s like watching a Shakespeare play where you honestly need the intro scene to just get used to the rhythm and the language).
And they made me think.
About the Camino.
Side note: the Camino is an ultra-hardest-things experience with raw and ragged good moments, breath-taking beauty all around, with deep challenges that will push you as far as you think you can go…and then eleven MORE miles past where you thought possible.
But, it’s also ridiculously personal.
I hold the Camino in the deepest part of my heart.
And then people are like, “How was the Camino?”
And I just say, “Crazy” because, really, there’s too much to talk about.
(Other side note: keep praying those pics get recovered. I really want to share them now that I CAN’T. Maybe it’s like how you never really want to eat meat all that much but then on Fridays during Lent you’re like, “What should I eat? How about Steak-Chicken-Nugget-Burger-Pepperoni Tacos? Can I have those? Oh, I can’t. Now I want them lots. Even more than hot fudge brownie sundaes or fluffly mashed potatoes or pecan-crusted salmon, more than anything anything simply because I cannot.”)
So, back to John Blase.
Back to me reflecting on what it would be like to walk with Jesus into Jerusalem.
The Camino is in many ways the closest I’ve ever been to a life with Jesus and the disciples. Here, in the U.S., I walk some but drive lots. I community some but solo lots. I pray some but internet lots.
On the Camino I walk miles of dusty road under the sun and pray and sing and, honestly, that’s my mind’s go-to for what it would look like to hang with Jesus now.
And this got me thinking about the Gospels.
When people ask me about the Camino I usually tell them one of two stories. 1. The day half of my group got separated and found the abandoned city-whose-Feast-day-was-Our-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel and almost died but then didn’t and we all lived, thanks be to God. 2. The Guardian Angel one.
And then they’re satisfied, really. So I stop.
But, in my heart, there are so many other days. There are so many other experiences and daily miracles that I never tell.
Today I read the story of the woman who barges into Jesus’ party with tears streaming down her face and everyone recoils because that woman isn’t our type. She’s sinful. And then she has the audacity to touch Jesus and we recoil again. But He chooses to love her and she anoints him with oil.
What if you were sitting at that table, watching it unfold?
What if you were Matthew or John and someone said, “Hey, you should write about Jesus” and you had a MILLION stories but you knew people wouldn’t have the time for all of them, so you just picked a few? I guess the woman-with-the-alabaster-jar makes the cut, just as the Pilgrims-who-got-lost-and-could-have-died makes mine.
But there are so many more.
I guess the reflection becomes, then, are they solely for me?
God is generous. I get my own stories of Jesus. I get too many to share. I get daily interactions and revelations (St. Therese said she was the most loved, I DISAGREE, THERESE. IT’S ME.)
Yeah, Jesus does the big things, I guess. Lazarus walks among us, the hemorrhaging woman stands again, the son returns to the arms of his widowed mother.
But, he also walked a lot. I can picture the red dirt and the bright sun. Maybe they caught grasshoppers who jumped into the path. Maybe they poked each other with wheat (my pilgrims thought this was a fun game).
So, yeah. The daily walk with Jesus.
And I’m going to type a story.
Maybe it’s just for me. In which case: thanks for coming and reading on this fine Thursday! You can leave right now. If not, here’s a break-down. (Julia, you may be the sole reader who finds this interesting).
Working Title: One of those days I walked the Camino, filled with things that probably won’t matter to anyone but me, but I thought it was a nice day.
Maybe I have all of these particulars wrong.
But I definitely woke up, probably around 5:00 a.m.
And I put my stuff in my backpack from that lovely room in the hostel and came downstairs, found my shoes, and Christine said that she was going to leave right away because I was taking too long. Case in point: my sleeping bag wasn’t even folded.
So I told her to go and that I would catch up with her. And, after I had packed my sleeping bag, I sneaked down and out the back door, headed towards the edge of town and facing out to the stars, the howling dogs (wolves?) and the tree-lined mountains.
As soon as I was seven steps from the door and around the corner from the door-light, I realized, “Self, it’s really dark out here.”
Then I turned another corner and was startled by a dark figure.
“Hi,” the dark figure said, in English.
It was Matt.
“I walked outside alone,” he said, “but saw how dark it was, so I said to myself, ‘I’m going to wait for the next girl who comes out, and I’ll walk with her’.”
“It’s me!” I said, “Walk with me!”
So we set out.
Matt brought a hand-held flashlight. I hadn’t. My flashlight was cut in the great Camino-packing/ downsizing of 2013.
And then we walked out of that town and into a new one. When we started it was dark and night, still, with the distant towns appearing as beads of light ahead of us.
- We walked down a hill. I was nervous that there was no arrow at the base of the hill, telling us which way to go, but Matt found it.
- We passed the Polish lady. She gave us an enthusiastic greeting, even though she was much slower than us.
- We talked about Indian Jones and the Crystal Skulls. Truthfully, we did. And then we branched into other historical/ religious phenomenon.
Matt: “I wonder where the Ark of the Covenant is today.”
Me: “She ascended into heaven.”
Matt: *Pushes me over*
- I pointed out that the mountain range looked like a sleeping woman
- We passed by a go-cart track and talked about movies. Matt told me things about a movie he watched with his youth group kids, and I cannot remember what the point was to that conversation, but I remember we had it. Maybe awkward moments in movies?
- We passed a woman and some sheep and an industrial loading dock and parking lot and I exclaimed, “THIS WOULD MAKE THE BEST PLACE FOR PLAYS!” and I still believe it. (Mental note: post for another day, “The many reasons I need to buy a warehouse”)
- We looped into a town with too many stairs for our sore pilgrim legs.
- We were distracted and stopped by a gigantic Medieval castle. Because of our hesitation, we were joined by Carl. Caaaaaaaaaaarl. He is SO GOOD at playing the game, “If you could eat anything right now, what would you eat?” Which is one of my favorite travel games of all time. I think it had something to do with cheddar cheese and breakfast food and raspberry jam?
- DISTRACTION. Monkey bars. Carl took photos.
We also stopped for money from the ATMs in that large town and Paul overtook us, which made me excited since I enjoy walking with Paul since we know lots of songs in common. And then we got a little lost, but we found the way, and then we began singing lots of Les Miserables. We switched parts back and forth until the songs were exhausted and then Paul taught us a pirate song.
Yes, a pirate song.
And there, finishing breakfast, was a Christine and her Bob. The place was good: food, bathrooms and stamps. So we stopped and met an old man from the East coast (of the U.S!) who was lovely and darling and oh so “inspired” to meet us. What a gem.
Then we headed out again.
For, you see, the sun was only still beginning to rise and we had a full day of walking, telling why I don’t like CGI, songs, and new friends ahead of us.
This, my friends, is the Camino.
And it extends with more stories and memories…on and on and on.