Monday, May 26, 2014

Taste and enjoy

near the village of Marols, on the Cluny route, after a strenuous climb up from St-Jean-Solymieux

"Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. 
Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good 
and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances,
 or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it 
and find out the truth about who you are."
~Anne Lamott

I think that walking the Chemin for many people can be a way to 'taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.'
This blossom tree was a casualty of the very windy storm the night before. It is still full of spring blossoms flowering. Wounded by unpredictable circumstances, it is still a thing of beauty in the landscape.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Walking into the Storm

St Paulien in the Auvergne region, not far from Le-Puy-en-Velay (on the Cluny route)

"If you spend your life waiting for the sun, you'll never enjoy the storm."
~Morris West

I was walking towards St Paulien, with only one more day's journey ahead of me before I reached Le-Puy-en-Velay. After passing a wonderful rural farm gîte, (and wishing I was staying there for the night!) I saw ahead of me that storm clouds were gathering. And indeed, soon I walked right into drenching heavy rain for the next few kilometres. There is something so cleansing about being doused in rain like that- and when you are walking you just have to surrender to getting wet! As the rain eased, I could see a dry road ahead of me, leading the way downhill into St Paulien.

The Light of Faith

"The light of faith is unique, because it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence!" 
~Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

When I walked the Camino in 2008, I met a Frenchman who inspired me as a prayerful man who was mindful of others. Then in 2012 when I planned to walk the Cluny route in France, I was invited to stay with him and his wife in their home in Burgundy. He offered to walk the first couple of days with me, to support me, and make sure I knew how to follow the way-markings. (These were crucial on this less-walked route, and different from those further south.) This statue of St Jacques was in the bedroom I was in, lit by the light from the window. It was in a bedroom that also welcomed other pilgrims who walked on the route from Dijon. 
My French friend is one who shows forth the light of faith- and he is also glad to walk with St Jacques as his protector. It has been a joy of my life to meet him and his wife, and even though they are so far away in kilometre terms, the light of their faith will always keep us together.