The Camino will provide

| Alyssa Bormes | July 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

There is a saying that “the Camino will provide.” Having completed our second week on the Way of St. James in Spain, my stepsister, Brenda, and I have found this to be true.

Here are a few examples. Brenda walked the first, most grueling day. Right near the end of the nine-hour trek, she hurt a muscle in her back. She was afraid it would hurt for some time. However, sitting at our table that evening was a physical therapist. He worked on her back, which gave her nearly immediate relief, and it hasn’t been a problem since.

There was a day when I was spent. And the question comes, “What am I doing here?” Then I met Pilar, a Spaniard living in Mexico. She helped with little things, like teaching us how to get bottom bunks at the “albergues” for the night. But more important, we had a conversation in which we each found an answer to old questions. Oddly, we left without getting each other’s contact information; unless I see her on the Camino again, it may just be that we were only to meet briefly.

However, at times the Camino provides gifts that are more difficult to identify. After my first day’s trek, which was Brenda’s second day, I went to the cafe nearby to get sandwiches for our next day’s journey. Since it was just a short walk, and in town, I didn’t take my walking sticks. (To those who know me, they are already saying, “Oh, no! You fell, didn’t you?”) That’s right, I fell.

It had been raining for at least two days, and I was going down some steps carved into a small hill. The grass-turned-mud was anything but stable, and down I went.

My knee twisted beneath me. Luckily, the fall didn’t immediately hurt that much. The next day’s hike began at 6 a.m. so we could make it to Sunday Mass in the next town, which was to be at 11 or 11:30 a.m. At 9:42, I had 3 kilometers to go, and it was downhill, so it should have been easy.

But it wasn’t.

What we didn’t know was how much the fall had hurt me. It took me two hours to navigate the steep decline. Much of it was on large slabs of uneven rock all pointing down. When I heard the 11 a.m. church bells ring, my heart sank, but I held out hope that Mass was actually at 11:30. But later, those bells rang as well, causing more sorrow while I was in so much pain.

When I arrived in Zubiri, Brenda, who had gone ahead to find the church, met me at the edge of the small town saying, “You must live right. Mass is at 12:15!” In addition, the church was right where we were standing. I was never so happy!

After Communion, I began crying. The Camino had provided the Mass after five and a half hours of walking to get there. It was a consolation that was all gift, all mercy.

Bormes, a member of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, is the author of the book “The Catechism of Hockey.”

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Category: Everyday Mercies