Next Steps. . .

I’ve reached kilometer 0, Finisterre, the end of the earth!  The journey from here back home will involve powered vehicles but I will always be walking the Camino.  I’ve been so blessed to have learned many lessons during my walk, my weeks on the Camino.  And I’m sure that there are still many more lessons that lie just below the surface which will emerge in the months, even years in the furture.

 

One evening, many weeks ago, as I was headed out for dinner after my daily hike, a person, still donning a pack and trekking poles and seeking directions, asked if I was a pilgrim.  Without thinking, I answered “Yes, I am.”  That question has been haunting me ever since.  I’ve been asked several more times “Are you a Pilgrim?”  Simply, am I a traveler on a journey to a holy place?  Yes, of course.  But the question evokes a deeper, more reflective response.

A pilgrimage isn’t just a long walk.  It is a journey that, if you are fortunate, becomes a journey of personal spiritual significance.  The holy place we are seeking on the Camino isn’t Santiago, the physical destination, it is fidelity with the Almighty, a state of beatitude.  A pilgrimage is a journey with a hallowed purpose. Every step along the way has meaning.  If lucky and thoughtful, life giving challenges emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey.  New insights appear.  Deeper understanding seems to seep from the rocks of the path, the morning mist, the canopy of the trees and conversations with fellow pilgrims.  New and old places in the heart and head are visited. Blessings are received and healing takes place.  If really fortunate, past guilts, regrets and transgressions are left at the foot of the cross of our Savior.  The blessed pilgrim is free of baggage to know and pursue the will of God.  After returning from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes.  Nothing will ever be quite the same.  Blessed are you pilgrim, because you have discovered that the authentic “Camino” begins when it is completed.  At its heart, the journey of each life is a pilgrimage,  through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.  Some pilgrims walk on paths.  Others toil at rewarding or thankless jobs.   Still others struggle with health issues.  All pilgrims are blessed!

During the last month,  I’ve met the most beautiful people, inspired by how genuine, open and sencere each one is.  We’ve laughed, sang, walked in silence, and even cried together.   I’ve often walked alone but never lonely, constantly accompanied by the love of my amazing wife, supported and encouraged by her love and that of my family, friends and fellow pilgrims.  Tomorrow I start the journey home but the Camino isn’t over.  I’m just taking the next steps.  “Are you a pilgrim?”  “Yes, I am!”

God’s speed and Buen Camino!

Tom

Americans headed to Santiago!

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Arrived!

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Last day!

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End of the Earth!

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12 Responses to Next Steps. . .

  1. David says:

    Your beautiful words and images of each day on your Camino have invoked moments of personal contemplation and awareness in those who have followed along. Thank you for letting us “walk” a few steps behind you on your journey Dad! We look forward to seeing you in a few days! Have a safe trip home!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony says:

    If you learned all of that then you did great!

    You are great…and blessed!

    Welcome home!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barb Dardy says:

    Your descriptions of the physical and spiritual experiences you have had are an inspiration!
    Many, many thanks.
    Barb

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peg Niehaus says:

    Beautiful and inspiring reflections, Tom. Thanks for sharing the journey and for reminding us of what is possible for each of us “pilgrims.” Safe travels home.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rick Coomes says:

    Beautifully said Tom … I’ve enjoyed your daily posts. I particularly enjoyed the 0 Km marker carried out to two decimal places! Have a safe trip home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jean kennevan says:

    Thanks, Tom, for that reflection. I often say to myself, “This is holy ground.” Wherever I am, there is the place to become aware of God’s, the Spirit’s presence. I really appreciated what you wrote. I know your lovely wife will be happy you back!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue Hannan says:

    I have enjoyed walking with you, as before. Your inspirational and spiritual messages serve as my daily reflection and have fostered growth within me. Thanks for sharing your pilgrimage, so it can serve to inspire others not able to make the journey.. God bless you and your family.
    In gratitude, Sue Hannan ( a friend of Terry and Diane)

    Like

  8. marychurlburt says:

    It’s been a blessing to follow your journey Tom. Looking forward to welcoming you home. Safe travels on the last leg of your journey.
    Mary

    Like

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