Not ashamed of my tears

Lessons from the Road: A Pilgrim´s Diary

The Last Part

The last day on the road, as we were walking towards Santiago de Campostella, we were sad.  We were sad not only because our journey was about to come to an end soon but also, in part, because we expected a better welcome in the city towards which we had been walking for all this while.  The locals didn’t seem really excited to see pilgrims making towards their final goal.

Quite contrary to the smaller villages along the Camino, where locals would cheer pilgrims and receive them with open arms, in Santiago, it seemed as if they couldn’t care less that you made it so far!   Here, you were just another pilgrim among those thousands visiting the city everyday.   A fellow pilgrim, who was equally hurt by the cold reception by locals in Santiago, found refuge in her own interpretation of their such behaviour.   According to her, “places like Santiago are visited by millions of people every year and each one of these pilgrims takes with him some of the positive energy from the place, leaving the people living around those places with little positive energy!”   I am not sure if there was any truth in that explanation but I personally always believed that a pilgrim, in fact, brings more positive energy to the shrine s/he is visiting.   It is indeed the power of this faith in a pilgrimage that contributes to the divinity of a shrine.  Having said that, I could not deny feeling unwelcome in the city. Continue reading

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At the Mountain of Joy, our hearts are filled with sadness

Lessons from the Road: A Pilgrim´s Diary

Part VI

 

Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to the “real life” and our fellow ‘travelers’ sufferings, their joys and their sorrows would no longer be our business.

On the eleventh day of the trek, we are at Monte del Gozo – Mountain of Joy. We can see the domes of the Cathedral of Santiago from the hilltop.   We are sad because tomorrow the journey is going to be over.

We have been walking towards this goal since last eleven days and when we are just on the cusp of achieving it, it doesn’t really seem to matter a lot.   Turns out the journey has become more important for us than the destination itself.

After settling down at the refuge, I am standing at the hilltop next to this monument for pilgrims.   Standing at this point I am telling my friend Joseph:

“Tomorrow onwards our mornings won’t be filled with the excitement of walking towards a clear and definite target.  A target which becomes our personal goal for the day, and our evenings will no longer be a celebration of having achieved that goal.

We will not be looking after those travelling beside us.  We will  not be tending to the blisters of a complete stranger.  Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to the “real life” and our fellow ‘travelers’ sufferings, their joys and their sorrows would no longer be our business.  All we would be expected to do is worry about achieving our own goals – goals which would neither be clear nor there would be any yellow signs pointing us in the right direction.”

Joseph, who had been trying to pay attention to what I was saying despite him feeling equally sad and lost in his own reflections responded, “If this is the description of our lives away from Camino, that’s not a lot to look forward to”.

Yes, it is certainly not a lot to look forward to.  Unless, of course, we go back with the resolve to change all that;  unless we decide to implement in our lives the lessons learnt on the Camino, and unless we change our apathy towards people around us to the compassion, the empathy we have been showing to our fellow pilgrims on the Camino.

How do we achieve that?

Well, tomorrow we are going to walk the last leg of our journey.  I hope we find answers before we end this journey.

Related Posts:
Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James)
Introduction to the Series – Lessons from the Road :A Pilgrim´s Diary
Part I: Starting off on the wrong foot
Part II: Lesson One: Right Here Right Now
Part III: What´s wrong with a pilgrimage close to home?
Part IV: How much you are carrying on your back?
Part V: When the hearing turns into listening
 

On the eleventh day of the trek, we are at Monte del Gozo – Mountain of Joy. We can see the domes of the Cathedral of Santiago from the hilltop.   We are sad because tomorrow the journey is going to be over.

We have been walking towards this goal since last eleven days and when we are just on the cusp of achieving it, it doesn’t really seem to matter a lot. Turns out the journey has become more important for us than the destination itself.

After settling down at the Refuge, I am standing at the hilltop next to this monument for pilgrims. Standing at this point I am telling my friend Joseph:

“Tomorrow onwards our mornings won’t be filled with the excitement of walking towards a clear and definite target. A target which becomes our personal goal for the day, and our evenings will no longer be a celebration of having achieved that goal.

We will not be looking after those travelling beside us. We will not be tending to the blisters of a complete stranger. On the journey on Camino, we have been doing this simply because we knew how much it matters for other travelers to know that they would not be abandoned along the way or left behind to deal with their wounds.   This assurance itself has been enough for all pilgrims to walk such long distances and climb the steepest hills whatever their physical might have been.

Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to “real life” and what our fellow ‘traveler’ suffers from would no longer be our business. All we would be expected to do is worry about achieving our own goals – goals which would neither be clear nor there would be any yellow signs pointing us in the right direction.”

Joseph, who had been trying to pay attention to what I was saying despite him feeling equally sad and lost in his own reflections responded, “If this is the description of our lives away from Camino, that’s not a lot to look forward to”.

Yes, it is certainly not a lot to look forward to. Unless, of course, we go back with the resolve to change all that; unless we decide to implement in our lives the lessons learnt on the Camino, and unless we change our apathy towards people around us to the compassion, the empathy we have been showing to our fellow pilgrims on the Camino.

How do we achieve that?

Tomorrow, we are going to walk the last leg of our journey. I hope we find answers before we end this journey.

On the eleventh day of the trek, we are at Monte del Gozo – Mountain of Joy. We can see the domes of the Cathedral of Santiago from the hilltop.   We are sad because tomorrow the journey is going to be over.

 

We have been walking towards this goal since last eleven days and when we are just on the cusp of achieving it, it doesn’t really seem to matter a lot.   Turns out the journey has become more important for us than the destination itself.

 

After settling down at the Refuge, I am standing at the hilltop next to this monument for pilgrims.   Standing at this point I am telling my friend Joseph:

 

“Tomorrow onwards our mornings won’t be filled with the excitement of walking towards a clear and definite target.  A target which becomes our personal goal for the day, and our evenings will no longer be a celebration of having achieved that goal.

We will not be looking after those travelling beside us.  We will  not be tending to the blisters of a complete stranger.  On the journey on Camino, we have been doing this simply because we knew how much it matters for other travelers to know that they would not be abandoned along the way or left behind to deal with their wounds.   This assurance itself has been enough for all pilgrims to walk such long distances and climb the steepest hills whatever their physical might have been.

Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to “real life” and what our fellow ‘traveler’ suffers from would no longer be our business.  All we would be expected to do is worry about achieving our own goals – goals which would neither be clear nor there would be any yellow signs pointing us in the right direction.”

Joseph, who had been trying to pay attention to what I was saying despite him feeling equally sad and lost in his own reflections responded, “If this is the description of our lives away from Camino, that’s not a lot to look forward to”.

 

Yes, it is certainly not a lot to look forward to.  Unless, of course, we go back with the resolve to change all that;  unless we decide to implement in our lives the lessons learnt on the Camino, and unless we change our apathy towards people around us to the compassion, the empathy we have been showing to our fellow pilgrims on the Camino.

 

How do we achieve that?

 

Tomorrow, we are going to walk the last leg of our journey.  I hope we find answers before we end this journey.

 

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