As the month of June comes to an end, it marks 15 years since my dear friend Pat Stankus and I marched into the city of Santiago de Compostela—culminating our pilgrimage across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
In my Camino journal, I made a list titled, "things I have learned this final week."
But really, they are lessons from the Camino:
- · a country church bell can be rung softly or loudly. I did both!
- · all of creation is an open book (St. Benedict), symbolically expressing—and portraying, the sacred
- · There is always shit on the path
- · Old or new, shit always stinks
- · people in Spanish churches sing loudly, even at daily Mass
- · my grace is sufficient for you
- · eucalyptus leaves are a piece of heaven—and nothing like the ones you find at Michael’s
- · sheep don’t like to be sheared
- · I can still sing the lyrics to songs I learned in my childhood and have not sung since then
- · The butterflies and wildflowers play silent music with their colors. Remember!
- · I love Spanish food
- · I love Spanish wine
- · I may never fully understand why I did this
- · Bidden or not bidden. God is present
- · Every pilgrim will go home describing a different Camino.
- · Threading your blisters with a needle & thread and betadine really does work
- · You can get blisters on top of blisters
- · Creation’s beauty does not cost or weigh anything
- · Your heart sees and recognizes joy (as well as sin) simply through presence
- · I doubted the guidebook. But, yes, cheese can be shaped to look like a breast with a nipple
- · I love Spanish cheese
- · Yo soy el Camino