I didn’t sleep last night.
Today was the day I would enter into Santiago de Compostela after 29 days of walking almost 800km (500 miles.)
I had it all planned.
I would rise by 5am, quietly slip out of the guesthouse (trying to not disturb my 13 roommates), set out alone in the pre-dawn darkness. Jupiter is bright and hangs in the western sky, I wanted to follow it like the Magi of old to my own personal crèche. I would get to feel the sunrise behind me, watch the world awake. Then after my 13 mile walk, I would get to the Cathedral square in Santiago before the crowds arrived and enjoy it in the morning sun.
Well, I did manage to rise at 5am and slip out, but…
No Jupiter. No sunrise. No morning sun.
It was overcast, rainy and pitch black. And those first miles were through the woods (very Blair Witch Project). The only thing I could see was my breath and a small shaft of rain, both breath and rain illumined by my headlamp.
After so many 25 mile days, 13 miles should have felt easy. It didn’t.
I did finally arrive. And I did beat the crowds.
And I am thankful for this morning. Sure… sure, it did not life up to my glorious plans. And only a romantic like me would dream of Magi-experiences. And only a lovely dose of reality would replace that dream with The Blair Witch Project.
What am I saying? It was apropos.
There are so many stories out there of the supernatural, life changing experience of the Camino. I have not yet experienced it.
So many of you have expressed a desire to hear about my Camino -transformation, and I fear I may let you down.
I wrote a post some weeks back called “Dying.” In that post, I compared the Camino to a Prayer Labyrinth and the Santiago Cathedral as the center of the Labyrinth. The journey to the center is a process of dying, of letting go, of repenting, of releasing lost dreams, of laying down past rejections, failures and hurts.
Sitting here in a cafe in Santiago, that sentiment feels more true now then when I wrote it, closer to the beginning of the Way.
So many of my friends (and maybe me too) are losing the ability to trust God. They are losing faith because God doesn’t show up. God is not fulfilling the promises of so many pastors and worship songs.
I have to keep reminding myself that Mother Teresa struggled to believe and said that God had never spoken to her. I need to remember that the vast majority of Bible characters did not get their hopes fulfilled or have tangible spiritual experiences.
I am in good company.
Instead of God living up to my expectations, I am going to meditate these next days on what it might look like to lean into God’s expectations.
Now… I wonder what it looks like at The End of the World.