Pilgrimpace's Blog

solitary walking – 2


A few months ago Maggie Shipstead wrote about Beryl Markham in The Guardian:

I’ve spent many months alone and travelling, and the transformative solitude Beryl experienced in the air is familiar to me, as is the self-stranger left behind when life is stripped of distractions.  She was brave.  I am not brave by nature but wish I were.  Often that’s the point of a hero – to loan you a spirit, to remind you of how you want to be.

When I was approaching Santiago on that first long pilgrimage three and a half years ago, I knew the pilgrimage and the walking, alone and with others, was making a difference to me, but I wasn’t sure how.  My friend John sent me a text: ‘The changes from the pilgrimage will become apparent in the years to come.’  A welcome end to worrying about what they might be.

Johnnie Walker has written a very good piece about the changes walking the Camino have made to his life and those of other people here.  This is well worth reading and pondering what changes you might want or need to make and whether you might have the courage to do them.

For myself, the demands of parish ministry – which is where I am set and where I ought to be – mean that there is not a huge amount of scope to be putting things back into the Camino as so many others have done.  There is, however, the challenge for all pilgrim people to put something back into life, into the communities in which we live, into life, into love.

This beautiful poem by Nicola Slee (from Praying Like a Woman) which a colleague shared with me today speaks wonderfully of all this:

Teach me


Teach me the art of gentleness,

to live patiently with my brokenness,

discern your presence in my emptiness.


Lend me a measure of faithfulness

to trust you with my helplessness,

to believe in a way out of hopelessness.


Show me the skill of carefulness

to guard the life in barrenness,

discover growth in separateness.


Lead me in your way of paradox:

confinement which effects liberation,

death birthing new creation.

2 Comments so far
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I keep re-reading this. I have tried to come up with words, but words fall short and then the words I do find have no place in a public forum comment. Thank you for posting this and blessings for your Sunday.

Comment by Val

Thank you Val – bless you,


Comment by pilgrimpace

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