Day 23 – Sebrayo to Gijon

In the crowded Albergue of Sebrayo we awoke with the alarms of others. I had slept poorly due to caffeine the night before, but upon awakening, we decided to depart. We got on the road at around 7. As we walked through this country village, we got turned around, and lost the arrows. A kind man saw us, and asked us if we were walking the Camino, and told us what we knew, “you are not on the right path,” but told us how to reconnect to the Way. Thankfully the words of Spanish he spoke we caught, that we would walk up this lane, through pastures, turn left, and then continue straight (always straight) until the road makes a T from there we will see the arrows. It was the most beautiful morning. It was this quiet, wonderful walk.

This day we walked 35 km again. Grace and I had had several conversations about my planned route, my desire to finish on the 22nd of September and the fact that with my legs and feet hurting, that I needed to space that out a bit and bus a couple stages. We talked about how to do that.

On this day, it was hard going sometimes but overall my feet and legs did well. We began to talk about the options.  We both wanted to make Gijon proper and not stop at the campground (the official Albergue) 6 km from Gijon. We wanted to get the early bus from Gijon for Aviles tomorrow and begin walking from there. This was to avoid the mostly industrial miles of walking through Gijon. The guide even suggested this.

We climbed a great steep hill and then a steep descent getting to the only bar located in a small town and there enjoyed beer and this amazing sandwich and olives.

The reality was we needed to just “keep going!”

We hiked up over another rise and then down again and en route talked with Omar a man from Puerto Rico. Learned some passionately told history of his country.

We walked to the camp store at the albergue and there was Max, whom I had previously met, from Germany and a handsome, tall, suave Spaniard from Madrid. We stayed and chatted with them. I got water. I asked if the host could call for a taxi for us.  She gladly obliged and it would be there in about 5 minutes she told me.

I talked with Max asking if he could phone for a hotel for us with his cell and but no he couldn’t as he had no service. Then Max asked the guy from Madrid. This man called two places for us and found us a room. The guys, joined by Thomas from Germany, tried to convince us to just stay there — which was tempting.  But Grace and I had mapped our route.  They ribbed us for doing getting a taxi, shouting after us, “Not real pilgrims!” And Grace joked, “Dad, why would I want to rush away, I was the star attraction for three handsome men!”

The taxi ride was great. It felt like such luxury to not be walking, and somewhat incredible to see the landscape zip passed us.  The taxi cost 15 euros. He dropped us on the street where our hotel sat, which was just one block from this wide, beautiful beach.

Our clean, sparse room for 30 euros, had five single beds in it, for just the two of us.

It was beautiful weather.

I showered and washed my clothes out and hung them up on our balcony, then we went to the beach. As I was jumping and playing in the waves, I pulled the calf muscle in my left leg again, and pain shot through me.  I felt so frustrated.  I said, “Jesus what are you teaching me?”

I limped to shore and then needed to take it easy. Grace left me at the beach cafe nursing a drink while she went back to get jackets for us. Then, we walked slowly to a store, bought some wine, cheese, bread, vegetables, fruit and chocolate danishes and had this incredible beach picnic, sitting on the sea wall, overlooking the bay. It was a stellar evening.  

Later that night, back in the room, I slept fitfully from the wine and cheese combination in my system.  Perhaps you are reading this thinking, “This man is a seriously slow learner!”  True, very true.

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.
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