Moments in our lives can sometimes lead us to ask what our purpose is. When I learned about the Camino, I instantly felt that it was the next step in helping me discover my purpose. The Way of St. James is considered a spiritual journey for many. As I walked and prayed, in a country previously unknown to me, I began to experience the answers to so many questions I had about my own journey. Walking “The Way” helped me see the many blessings in store for me along this path called life.
In October 2015, I began this journey with a wonderful friend of mine and 9 other pilgrims, to walk the last 100 km of the Camino Frances. As we traveled to our starting point, I heard stories of other pilgrims and would hear the words, “the Camino provides.” I didn't understand exactly what those words meant at the time, but soon I learned how true a statement it would be.
On the first day of walking, in the small villa of Peruscallo, an elderly man with his little dog suddenly stopped in front of me and handed me a stick in the shape of an arrow. Out of the vast number of pilgrims he had just passed on the road, he chose me to receive this very symbolic Camino blessing. It was such a spontaneous act of love that it brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing start to my walk! Anticipation and excitement were building in me to see what the rest of my journey would hold.
In Melide, the halfway point, I approached a plaza and saw a church off in the distance. As I listened to the bells ring, it was as if it was calling me to take a break from walking. I went into the church, sat down and admired its humble interior. A priest came up, prayed a prayer of blessing and encouraged me to see God in everything. I learned there that sometimes we need to take time to savor the journey.
Walking into Santiago de Compostela, the end of our Camino, and seeing the grand Cathedral was breathtaking. It was in this holy place where I received the greatest blessing of my journey. I was given the honor and privilege to read a scripture during the Pilgrim’s Mass. Standing in front of the community gathered, worshipping with them, and praying a blessing over them was something I will treasure for the rest of my life!
I often reflect upon my Camino journey and smile as I remember the kind people I met and the blessings I received along “The Way”. The Camino made such a tremendous impact on my life by giving me a clearer purpose and a desire to share my experience. The Camino provided and will continue to.