Hope in headlamps and rooster crows

| Alyssa Bormes | August 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
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Well, I got a nickname. It’s “Tortuga,” Spanish for “turtle.” A woman gave it to me on the Camino, which is the walking pilgrimage I’m on across Spain to the tomb of the Apostle James in Santiago.

Brenda, my stepsister, continued walking after I re-injured my knee. Three weeks of rest later, I decided to walk again. What began was a roughly 72-mile, seven-day test.

Every hour or so, especially in the heat, someone on the Camino would check on me. My gait was so slow that others thought I was having problems. I would meet them with a big smile and an assurance of being just fine. Hence, the nickname Tortuga.

In order to avoid the heat, I began walking at 5 a.m.; the sun rose just after 7 a.m. Each morning I donned my headband headlamp, which guided my steps before dawn.

Being alone in an unfamiliar place, often in the middle of the woods, in total darkness except for the small glow of the lamp, allowed for an odd sense of being alive. The noises around me and the seeking of the trail kept me alert.

One day the dry leaves falling gave me a start; they sort of clicked as they landed. There was a day when I thought the path had come to a dead end. Instead, upon closer inspection, there was a very narrow bridge made of just some odd rocks in order to cross a stream.

Prayer kept me moving. I said the rosary in rhythm with my footfalls. At times I would recite the intentions I carried with me. And then there were times of asking God, “What are you teaching me?” Those dark, early mornings were especially fruitful.

What was hidden in darkness at times could be very frightening. However, there was always a rooster that crowed just before dawn, announcing the light in the darkness. And the light began to flood the earth.

No matter how gnarled a tree may have been, or how rocky and uneven the path was, with the light it all began to be beautiful. It seemed that the earth allowed the light, allowing for all of the world’s imperfections to become wonderful.

My headlamp was just a taste of the whole; I was grateful to have it. However, when a rooster crowed, it was a sign of hope. I knew he was telling the truth of what was to come: dawn. My heart anticipated the brightness, and my steps seemed more certain, even in the darkness.

There is truth and the Church is proclaiming it. Our sin may take some awful shapes, but there is so much hope in allowing the flood of Christ to illuminate all the dark corners, and what was once hidden and frightful becomes new.

And even if the path seems arduous, take a lesson from the Tortuga: Step by step you can make it, and you will be utterly alive when you get there!

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