The One Thing the Camino Was Not

It is quite the challenge to sum up the camino in a blog. When people ask, "How was the camino?" I don't even know where to begin! The camino was many things: trying, telling, exhausting, humbling, beautiful, thrilling, painful, moving. But, there is one thing the camino was not--it was not comfortable. 

I, like many others I am sure, enjoy staying in my comfort zone. I like routine, I like knowing the culture, the people, the language. I like the safety of having control of some things in my life. I like being comfortable. 

I quickly learned on the Camino that I would be kissing comfort goobye! I was in a foreign country, I did not know or understand the language well, there was no air condition, my feet hurt every single day, and I was to get up at 5:30am and walk every day for a month, I was to walk across a country by looking for yellow arrows and shell signs. Why did I think this was a good idea? 

Oh, but it was.

In the beginning, I would frantically search for the yellow arrows to point me in the right direction. I was so afraid of getting lost! But guess what happened...my sister and I got lost! I led us up a mountain we weren't supposed to be hiking. A nice man driving up the mountain saw our backpacks and through the grace of God, we were able to understand his spanish enough to know we were heading in the wrong direction. That was the last thing my sister and I wanted to hear after climbing this mountain for about 30-45 minutes--but it was something I needed.

One of the greatest lessons I learned was not to be afraid of not knowing. Every time I found myself getting anxious because I wasn't sure if I was heading in the right direction, I learned to just pray, "Jesus, if we are walking in the wrong direction, You will let us know." He let us know every single time. A yellow arrow would appear, I would see another pilgrim in the distance, or sometimes people in the town would help us. They were always looking out for pilgrims and sometimes would literally take you by the hand and walk you across the street to make sure you were on the right side of the road! My sister and I were always taken care of.

The fear of not knowing is very real but very unnecessary.

Most of my Camino was spent not knowing anything. I did not know how the weather would be, I did not know how my feet were going to respond, I did not know how far we would walk, I did not know about the people I would encounter, I did not know how I would communicate with people, I did not know where I was going to stay, I did not know a lot of things. And it became a freedom I did not know I would enjoy so greatly. 

Something happened in my soul while I was on the Camino. I did not know it until I had returned home--somewhere in the midst of not knowing, my heart became open. I feel more free and ready for what God has in-store for me! I am trusting more in a God who takes care of all the details. 

I am happy and free to not know.

I pray the next time fear starts to sneak it's way into my life, I can remember the Camino and remember the freedom of letting go and the freedom in being uncomfortable.

"The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness."- Pope Benedict XVI

 

Be His,

Christine Simpson