Last night Matt and I celebrated 3 weeks of being on pilgrimage together in our small hotel room in Santiago de Compostella -- a place where traditionally pilgrims walked from all over Europe to honor the full remains of St James, who possibly came to Roman "Hispania" and evangelized here. Charlemagne ordered that pilgrim paths be set up all over Europe - and those same paths are still traveled today from Portugal, France, and even England. We've met people who began months ago in Amsterdam, others who joined in central France, and some who, like ourselves, have only joined the pilgrim trails only a few weeks ago to arrive at our destination: the Cathedral of Saint James (Santiago). It is a lovely way to explore Europe involving a spiritual component, physical component, and so much downtime for leisurely and long-needed conversation. It has been pure gift.
Last night we were celebrating not only our arrival, but the fact that we feel truly (and finally) at rest. That deep rest that only comes after one exhales for about a week, tries not to keep waking up in the night thinking of all the things they forgot to do before coming, worrying about children, still organizing things (like broken dryers!) from afar. We can't believe it has taken this long - but then again, we shouldn't be surprised because things always take longer than one expects.
We were able to walk into and spend a few days with Madeleine in her university town of Leon, where she is currently studying. And then the following week, Chapman joined us and walked with us for a few days - which was a total delight to hear his stories of graduating, looking back on college, and wondering about his future. We know that these days are precious! And tomorrow, Amie Kate and Iona arrive and will join us to walk a different portion of the Camino (I know - we are doing this whole thing out of order, which should not surprise any of you!) So hence last night's bottle of champagne and ...
... opening our pink-paper blessings from you, which we have carried all over Spain! THANK YOU for the words of encouragement, for the prayers, and for words like: frolic! delight! rest! stories! laughter! These things are coming to pass, and are slowly working their way into our bones. It has taken many days, much walking and head-clearing mountain air, and simple unfilled space. And now we feel ready to welcome children and even their friends for various portions of this sabbatical, and of course the joy of meeting up with the Evensong ladies in July.
Here is a link to an article I wrote on pilgrimage a while back, in case any of you want to know the "theology" behind pilgrimage. Enjoy!
Blessings to you - and THANK YOU for blessing us in this deep, much-needed way,
Julie, for all of us