Pilgrimpace's Blog

tough gratitude

Life on the Camino becomes simple and pared down.  I like establishing the rhythms of waking before dawn, walking, eating, finding somewhere to sleep for the night.  In a life that is always in danger of being too busy, it is a wonderful corrective to be able to have just one thing to do at a time.

In this simplified way of life, external events can have a disproportionate effect, especially when you are on your own.  It can be hard to keep things in proportion.  It can be easy to lost the essential marks of gratitude and thankfulness which for me are the marks of the pilgrim.  Gerry Hughes writes of the effect a petty act of meanness had on him on one of his pilgrimages (I can’t find the reference; it’s the story of a barman filling his waterbottle but then being told to pour it away by the boss.  It is either in In Search of a Way or Walk to Jerusalem – read both; they are excellent).

This really affected him negatively until he realised that he was down and tired and without the spiritual resources to deal with it.  He was able to let it go and ignore it.

For Meenakshi and I on the Camino Ingles recently, the weather, especially on the last day of torrential rain, effected us.  There was the challenge to keep going as well as the challenge to make something more of this than an unpleasant wet plod.

Rebekah Scott, who runs a House of Hospitality on the Camino Frances and gives us the fantastic blog Big Fun in a Tiny Pueblo, wrote this recently on the Camino Forum:

If you are a pilgrim, you supposedly take whatever the camino sends your way. You don´t expect much, and you are grateful for what you do get. Sometimes your “bed” may be the porch of the church. It will not be comfy, but it will probably not kill you. 

Gratefulness, simplicity, receiving what comes your way.  For Christian pilgrims, the awareness that pilgrimage is a penitential discipline, the discomfort and pain adding to the journey into Grace, giving weight to the prayer.

This post has gone in a very different direction to that which I had planned!  More tomorrow when I have reflected some more.

Hasta luego!


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[…] reflected yesterday on one of the gifts of pilgrimage being the learning to accept adverse […]

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