2018 J2A Pilgrimage: Walking Day #3:
Our third day of walking, 6-25-2018, was fantastic! The motif for the day was the sometimes lowly, yet sometimes glorious, and, on this trip, increasingly present, walking stick. For us today, walking sticks have symbolized the support in our community, receiving support and giving support, especially the support that some members of our community give to other members of our community, and the way that the supported and the supporter both benefit!
This theme of support started our day in the form of a charla (talk) by one of our leaders about the story in Luke 5:17-20 and Mark 2:1-5 in which Jesus heals a man who was unable to come to see Jesus due to crowds in the house where so many were gathered and therefore his friends lowered him to Jesus, who then healed the man because of THEIR faith (eg, the friends’ faith, not the man’s faith).
This led to many smaller discussions on the trail and later about caring about and for each other, a point that we were blessed to have demonstrated for us on the trail when, during lunch on the side of the Camino, we witnessed another friend, now ~2000 years later, not lowering a man down, but rather pushing him up in his wheelchair along a steep section of the trail of the Camino.
That this great support was happening in our community became clear during our debriefing/reflection session after dinner, when we all shared our different walking groups’ experiences (there are 4 walking groups) and realized our pilgrims had been supporting and praying for each other while walking on pilgrimage: both members of the same groups and also between groups, which led many to realize how transformative it is to pray for someone else, to intentionally make manifest our hopes and thanks for others in our community. The support was emotional, spiritual and physical as we all felt different things, strove for deeper meaning, and struggled with blisters and tired feet.
This support led us to accomplish several personal goals (especially getting past the half way point, walking over 50 km [30 mi] total, and walking our longest walk of the trip [~16 mi]), but also to realize that that our real focus was not those personal goals but rather our walking-stick support of each other.
Like the first two days, today we met many other pilgrims form all over world on the road including the above pilgrim in the wheelchair, who reminded us to remember the morning lesson about caring about AND for each other.