After my 3 am bed bug awakening I sat up read bible, prayed – suddenly more effectively, and then prepared to leave. I left at 6. I walked in the pitch dark. The moon was full so it was my light. Beautiful morning. Also a bit frightening in the forest and dark. My tiny flashlight was helpful in a limited way. I was thankful that I don’t watch many of those horror movies when the really dumb adults go check on the noise in the dark basement, or find themselves wandering in a dark wood and, of course, don’t survive!
The walk of about 40 Kms was great.
In Baamonde, I stopped at the local “Dollar Tree” which in Spain is not hidden behind euphemisms but honestly known as the Chinese Cheap Store. I bought underwear and long pants, knowing I needed to have everything machine washed to kill any bed bug remnants. I arrived at the albergue at noon and gave all my clothes to be washed left wearing my new Chinese clothes. No shirt for an hour. After I got clothes back, I felt like perhaps I was bed bug safe. I ate some food at 2.
Then for dinner Nannette planned for four of us to have a meal together. She had two bags of salad and asked that I go the store to get some other ingredients for the salads. I thought “That won’t be enough salad,” which actually ought to be a signal to me! Every time I have thought that I know better than another, it never ends well. But rather then questioning my ‘logic,’ I thought I knew better. So this other pilgrim, Anna, and I walked to the store and she and I came back with ingredients enough for salad for a multitude! We bought two more and heads of romaine. Two red peppers. Two Avocados. Cheese. Guacamole. Two bags chips and two cans olives! There were plenty of laughs about the amount of food we returned with. Never had a table so overflowed for four! We had plenty of leftovers which we made available for others, and left at the Albergue after I had eaten some for breakfast.
Inside, however, I felt stupid. I felt such shame. I stood outside in the sun leaning against a wall that was older than America, writing about feelings which were as common to people as breathing. In addition to shame I felt afraid that this journey was nearing its conclusion. Attached to that was the feeling that not enough had changed within me to warrant the conclusion of this walk. I had to reconnect with the bed bug message the Lord had given me to not “stay in bed with all those thoughts!”
That night several of us made reservations through this albergue with the next albergue in Miraz. The folk at this place would deliver our packs for us, so we could hike just with what we needed to carry for the day. It felt like I was becoming a “cheater pilgrim!” But I was so grateful for the anticipation of a day without my pack.
That came in as everyone at the albergue was heading for bed. Seeing this picture with the enthusiastic, smiling faces, was such an encouragement to my heart. Jesus reminded me with them — my negative thinking is mine alone. No one agrees with those thoughts.
The next morning after my salad breakfast (!), carrying a small red shoulder bag and wearing a fanny pack courtesy of the Chinese shop, I carried water, my journal and pens, and some food for the day. It was dark as I left, and I got lost on my way out of town. Instead of finding the Way, I found my way back to the albergue I had just left 15 minutes earlier!
So, I left and tried again, and this time found the Way. It was Dark. Dark inside and out really. I still had not worked through all the feelings of the night before. The familiar inner narratives spoke to me in the 45F morning weather. Stupid. Failure. Lost. Descriptions of how I felt about myself. But over against these familiar voices came the gentle, deeper, calmer, richer voice of the Lord speaking to my heart. The Lord urged me to replace the lies with truth.
On this day, the 29th day of my journey, I felt the start of a blister on my foot. I stopped twice to lubricate my foot with vaseline. I passed a family harvesting potatoes from their field. I stopped and sat on this marvelous rock wall, meeting a dog whom I named Jorge and with whom I shared bits of sausage. “Jorge gets his life. He barks. Meets people. Is really encouraging. And is engaged in the moment and loves to receive gifts,” I wrote. I took a lesson from him.
Sitting on the wall, in the sun, laughing with Jorge, and journaling, light soaked into my darkness, laughter into my thinking, hope into my soul. It is amazing what sun, warmth and breathing can do for the spirit! Rather than allowing myself to get sidelined by the false expectations of what I was “supposed to be feeling” at this point in time, I chose to just intentionally keep placing one foot in front of the other. Again it was the classic move to “stay with my feet,” which seemed to have been my theme.
I stayed until the sun hid behind a cloud, and then walked on. I had to stop twice to remove pebbles from my boot and then it hit me, as if a new thought, that “All of life is a path.” I have probably said this before, but it struck me that day as new, as new as this random door with flowers, that we all get to “walk daily. And every choice affects the way we journey.”
I wrote that day:
“I am at rest. It has been a challenging morning with the blister pain, getting lost, and nearly falling to pieces. But on this rock wall, with fresh oil on my feet, with a new sense of hope and purpose, a confidence flowed into me. I know that Jeremiah 29:11 (“I know the plans I have for you…”) is true and that quote on this page is so true also: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them who love Him” (1 For 2:9). So, I walk and wait. As I wrote out questions to God about my path, this life and my future, here’s what I received:
“Child. you are worried and bothered about so many things, when only one is necessary. Choose Me child. I am the “One thing” to choose above all else. All of life will fall into place .”
I guess I was really wanting final word so frequently — but there is none. The truth is You say “Trust. Wait. Be.” You say, “Be still and know.” Help me, Lord to be faithful to your great voice. Let me make you the only thing that matters in this life.
I feel a little dizzy being in the last 100 km of this journey…