Today is the first day since August 28th that I have not had to put on my boots, or Keens, as it were and it seemed so strange. So, what did I do but put the boots on anyway and walk the 10 minutes to the Cathedral to watch the new pilgrims come in. Already I am a ¨has been¨ but that is how it should be.
I feel sorry for the pilgrims coming in today as it has been pouring rain since yesterday. Coming in the last 13+ miles was unbelievable. Spirits were so high that you could feel it. The ¨newer¨pilgrims, those who did the last 62 miles instead of the last 500 were suffering too as their blisters were new but their spirits were high. And lest I be prideful I have to keep remembering that it is THEIR Camino too, just as mine is my Camino. Ëveryone´s pace is a good pace and everyone´s Camino is a good Camino. I will have to get out of the habit of greeting everyone who passes me on the trails with a ¨Buen Camino!¨
One of the special things I have learned through this nearly 6 weeks is that 95% of the people, when we exchanged names of our home country, would say with admiration Ämerica. ¨ Several told me how lucky I was to live there and that was so good to hear because if you watch the news you think that American is hated worldwide but none from these pilgrims, just good wishes. When I am home and have time to sort
this out I will make a list of the pilgrims from the various countries I met.
I went to the wonderful Prilgrims Mass today and was moved beyone words. I could only recognize a few words said but I could feel the love for God and for this Camino without knowing the language. After standing in line 2 hours yesterday to get my Compostela, my certificate of doing this pilgrimage, and then coming out and seeing almost a block of pilgrims still waiting to get in, I fully appreciated all of the footsteps we all put in to do this.
My friend from Germany, Monica, and I can in together yesterday but our Canadian friend Ann got in today. She had an extra rest day so that put her a day behind us. Thanks to my cell phone I was able to keep up with her and meet her today. She left at 6:00am this morning, got lost 3 times in the dark but made it, soaked through.
I will say this one more time before I sign off for a week or so: This Camino has been life changing for me -body, mind and soul. I have never been a missionary or preacher but I was presented with so many opportunties to share my faith. I am amazed that people would want details about why, being a non-Catholic, I would do this as a spiritual pilgrimage. I was also surprised as how many, many people told me that that had given up on religion. I am not smart enough to help them but all I could do was to share what I felt.
For those who have been interested in this blog, and in my journey, I thank you with all I have in me. I felt surrounded by love and devotion of family and friends, as well as the One in whose name I did this and for this I am the richest person on earth.
I will leave Santiago for the airport at 4:30 in the morning and will fly out of Madrid at 11:00 and home by 3:30. The word ¨Home¨never sounded so good.
Goodby Spain, Hello United States and Rome, Georgia.
This HAS been a Buen Camino!