Monday, January 25, 2016

just follow the shells

When I walked the Camino de Santiago with my friend Pat, the two of us did very well following the Camino signs.  Looking back on it now, I’m amazed that we never questioned if following the yellow arrow or the scallop shell (symbol of the Camino) was the correct path to Santiago!

I can only remember one instance where I thought we were following the signs, but were probably on the wrong path. Not bad for walking over 350 miles across northern Spain!

In reality, whether on the Camino or in real life, following -- and trusting -- the signs in front of me is no small task.

I was thinking about it this morning as I walked the beach combing the sand for shells. I have been on the Texas coast enjoying a few days of staring at the waves with Michael.

We love to come here in the winter by ourselves because the beach is so very different this time of year. And yes, I’m not going to lie, it gets us away from Oklahoma’s winter cold.

This year’s visit has been a good but unusual beach experience. I confess that I arrived here with a head full of ‘to do’s.  – And perhaps that’s why it feels different.

The beach is my place. It’s where I come to remember to breathe deeper. To find my natural and true pace of walking again. When I’m here there is no time—and memories from past and future ebb back and forth like the high and low tides.

Not only is the beach different every year we come, it is different every day we’re here! Like Tom Hanks’ character in “Castaway,” I come to remember 
“what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?
On my long walk this afternoon, I was outlining for God all the things still on my plate, and I blurted out, loud enough for the waves to hear, “It’s just too much… how am I going to do this?”

Just follow the shells, I heard.

And I continued to bend down and pick up the shells before me… a scallop shell here, a scallop shell there… leading the way in the sand.

Just follow the shells.