Every Camino I walk is like my first. It doesn't matter how many times I walk this path, a new lesson or maybe a lesson I still need to learn is shown to me. Isn't that how life is? How many times does God need to show us something before we truly understand and learn. I pray that I am smart enough and have the wisdom to learn the first time, but I am human and sometimes I just need to be reminded again and again.
This one lesson seems to be shown to me over and over again. I know it. I believe in it. Maybe, the continuous reminder is a gift and a grace. Not a lesson. A reminder of Gods beauty, a reminder of His mercy, a reminder of His love. That reminder, that little nudge, that little gift is trusting in Him. Trusting that He is taking care of us. Trusting that He is guiding us.
He has carried me through a lot in life. He has brought me through the desert. He has helped me in carrying my crosses. He has always been there. So, why do I doubt? Why do I question? Why do I fear?
So, my little reminder on this Camino is beautiful and it is perfect. This past September, I lead a group from Rabanal del Camino to Santiago. It was a special Camino. Planned for my pilgrims. I liked the route so much, that I am now offering it as a pilgrimage. After staying our first night in a lovely Albergue in Rabanal del Camino and enjoying a beautiful and delicious breakfast, we started our walk to Molinaseca. Molinaseca is a beautiful village in a valley alongside a river. We started early and came to the Iron Cross. One of the things I like about this Camino is even though it is short, we were able to walk to the Iron Cross. One of the most important points along the Camino. We left our stone, left our burdens and continued along the mountain range. The day was perfect. It was sunny with a little chill in the air. We enjoyed good food and great company!
The next day was going to be different, a little walking and a little transferring by bus. Our day consisted of a short walk to Ponferrada. This was about 3-4 miles and then we will take a bus to Piedrafita. Piedrafita is a little town at the base of a mountain. This mountain road takes you to O'Cebreiro. After the bus ride, we will walk 2.5 miles uphill into O'Cebreiro.
We started our day at a nice pace and when we arrived into Ponferrada, we had a nice surprise. A festival was taking place. We enjoyed a nice cup of cafe con leche and headed to the bus station. As we made our way to the station, we were able to enjoy all the food and crafts at the festival. Remember the Camino is all about the journey, so enjoy every moment that is given to you.
When we arrived in Piedrafita, after a nice nap on the bus, we started our walk into O'Cebreiro. Again another important point along the Camino, the village of O'Cebreiro. This is the village where the Eucharistic Miracle happened. The church is beautiful and the miracle is on the side altar. We weren't taken the normal path, we were hiking up the road. We decided to walk and get lunch in O'Cebreiro. Its only 4 kms, we can wait and eat there. That was our vote as a team. We started our climb, it was a long 4 kms straight up. It was hot and it was long, oh wait did I already say that? We all started to get hungry.
We kept walking, because that's all you can do. I asked the girls if they wanted to get a taxi to O'Cebreiro. They said, no they were going to walk into O'Cebreiro. I was happy, because I wanted them to walk, but as a guide I had to offer the other option. As we walked, Nancy looked at the sides of the road. She started laughing, she said look at what He has given us! A snack! We stopped and looked. All alongside the road was blackberry bushes and to our surprise there were still some on the bushes. We thought how can they still be ripe and delicious in September? How can they not all be eaten? We stopped questioning the gift and enjoyed our snack. A reminder, He is taking care of us. He gives us what we need.
As we continued our walk, we started playing games. We sang songs, made up a few of our own. We laughed, we rested, we walked. We were almost there and we noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. There was a little old Spanish lady filling bottles of water from a natural spring. We all got excited, our bottles were almost empty and not very cooling. As we approached the lady, she said, "the best water you will ever taste" as she continued filling like four gallons of water in her tubs. We waited our turn and sure enough, the water was perfect. Cold fresh spring water right out of the mountain side. Another gift. Another reminder. Thank you Jesus!
We continued into town, sat down and had the most delicious meal. As usual, our day was perfect in every way. Our Lord provides.
May we all be blessed with the many gifts and graces of Our Lord this day.
Buen Camino my fellow pilgrims!
Your fellow pilgrim, Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen