Day 11 – Pobeña to Islares

img_8245There was rustling in the room. Someone’s headlamp blazed as they sought their belongings. I got up.  This weariness settled over me. My energy was low. My feet ached just landing on the cold tile floor. Standing was difficult yet those feet needed to carry me 24km that day that amazingly became 24 miles. 

I eased down off my top bunk. Grabbed my shaving kit and went to the bathroom, shaved, washed my face, put on deodorant, my fresh shirt, and then made my way back into the dark quiet dorm room, filled with sleepers yet.  I picked up my sleeping bag off my bunk, my backpack, boots, socks, and stuff sack off floor and carried them all through the door into the brightly lit entry area, where, the previous afternoon, the host had labored to teach me to say my age

After stuffing my sleeping bag into the sack and putting it in my backpack, securing my still wet socks on the outside and zipping up all the pockets, I carried my pack outside into the dark, sat on a bench and began to rub my feet with vasoline, put on my other pair of socks, and stuff my feet into my boots.
One daily practice had been to grease my feet with vasoline every theee hours. It helped me avoid blisters and added a layer of practice into my days. My frequent rests for the sake of my feet helped me slow down and the pain I felt in my feet without blisters, assisted me with noticing every step.
I was still lacing up my boots when Nannette awoke. She was not feeling great, either. I ate an Epic protein bar and fruit while she did her own foot care, donned her boots and then we hiked off into the dark to the yellow arrows marking the way, across a parking lot, to an entrance to a staircase up some 200 steps out around an overlook along a cliff, past others who had left earlier, who chose to sit there with the view  over the harbor back toward Probeña while they breakfasted.  This was the beauty and terrain I’d  pictured.

The trail followed undulating ups and downs and views filled with such beauty, Image-1we would just feel astounded.  It was beauty that began to soak into my soul.

I needed this having journaled: “I’m weary Jesus. Weary. I don’t like my job. I don’t love my work. To have these months when I’m no one’s pastor is rich. Simply rich. I want to just learn what it means again, or maybe for the first time, to BE me, to be alive. Walking so far daily seems so big and it is in many ways, yet, finally here I get the space to sit, to write, to be, to feel this breeze and the warm sun.”

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How about you go first….  

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This definitely is what the Camino feels like!

My community’s words rang into my heart:

“I’m so excited for you.  You have blessed our family and church community more than you know and we send you on your adventure with every ounce of LOVE we can muster; knowing you’re being carried on the wings of Eagles!  Each and every day, live in the moment, enriched by every connection..cherish every step, every vista, every doorway you enter. No doubt you will touch lives, as equally as you will be touched!  Keep brining your unbounded Joy and cherish the moments of quiet and solitude.  We LOVE YOU — Endless blessings!  Love, Dave.  I’ll pray for you everyday XO.”

Yes.  Cherishing the steps, brother. Breathing in the vistas.  Resting in the hope.

“Step by step, His hand goes with you.  He is such a good God.  He places us where we can become more like Him.  Debbie.”

“You are a Godsend to our family and our church.  You have been incredible in being a mentor to us and to me, especially.  You have taught me so much about how to help others.  Love and blessings along your Camino. God with you!  Scarlet.”

Such a gift to have this kind of support in the middle of my own soul-search. I was grateful for these real relationships with such precious people.  I wrote: “Thank you for all the words I carry in this book. How joyful, and loving of you to love ME enough to send these people with me in word, in prayer, in heart, in life.”

Today’s perfect temperatures were around 70F. It was partly cloudy all day which meant the sun was not always blaring down on us

We walked together today, but mostly in silence.  On this day I had this deep need for space, for inner space and external space.  The journey led us up along a bluff, then down under the freeway through a sleepy village and up onto a small highway along which we walked for around six km.

Then we were along the coastline again, a beach path and dropped down into a large city.  14985Nannette just lay down on the sidewalk promenade so grateful to have arrived somewhere. When we asked, we found out it was Castro-Urdiales our first destination.

We got so happy. High fived. We went into town. I went to find insoles for my boots at the pharmacy while Nannette had a café con leche.

We hiked on along the coastline to Islares because it was an Albergue that sat on this bluff overlooking this incredible view.

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 I’d seen it in the guidebook before departure and decided that I was definitely staying there.

We arrived, registered in the albergue, and I went to a local pub to write, eat olives, drink a beer and be.  I came to an entry my oldest brother had written.  He began:  “Thank you for being a wonderful brother.”  He had me there.  Tears came to my eyes. While together at the beach prior to my departure, he and I had shared this amazing walk and talk along the beach at Seaside.  He wrote, “Loved our walk and talk today, it was the best ever. I am so glad, happy for you to have found yourself.  It’s wonderful.” There was this gift:  his writing looks like how our dad’s handwriting had looked, and the way he expresses himself was similar to how dad did as well.  Our dad died over thirty years ago. Gratefulness flooded me there in that bar.  That was where I had ordered another bowl of olives but had asked in this German-Spanish mixture.  I had been hearing enough German, that the two languages were in the same “brain bucket.”  The bar tender had laughed and laughed, and gave me the correct Spanish.

As I sat there, in walked Gunda, my friend from Germany, whom I had not seen for a few days.  Seeing me, she had exclaimed, “Brian!  Helmut just said, ‘I wish to see my Brian and my Markus again!’  And I find you!”  We embraced and I walked with her down to where they had a cabin at a campground.  Not finding Helmut at their cabin, she showed me their great swimming area.  So, asking her permission, I striped to my shorts and jumped in and swam while she watched my shoes and shirt.  Then Helmut came there and seeing me broke into this huge smile and embraced me, wet and all.  He told me what Gunda had already said.  We arranged for them to join us for dinner that evening at the bar near our albergue.

“You are a couple now,” said Claudio, of Nannette and I, when he and Lorenzo arrived,  “And we are your sons!”  Thus we became the “Camino Family!”  That evening found us and Gunda and Helmut at dinner for this rousing, joyful, loud, story-filled evening.  I was starving.  In all we had walked 24 miles that day, and I was so hungry.  You’ll notice my plates of food, a salad and a three-meat entree.  Yes, I ate it all!

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Claudio with his huge burger

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Seriously: my dinner! Three kinds of meat and two full plates of food!

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The shoe and pole area at our albergue. 

 Sleep came easily that night.

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
Image | This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago, del Norte, Encouragement, Faith, follow, God speaks, God with us, hope, Jesus, Joy, Presence, Provision, Trust. Bookmark the permalink.

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