Pilgrimpace's Blog


update

I hope it’s OK to keep updating you on knee progress.

It is improving a lot.  I walked three miles today with Bharti to go for dinner.  It hurts less than two out of ten.  It feels a bit ‘loose’ inside, but that walking has not made it hurt any more.  I will tentatively go for a country walk of a few miles tomorrow and see how it goes. If I don’t obviously make it worse, I will be walking the final section of The Cistercian Way in a fortnight with a light pack.

These last couple of weeks have been tough.  It’s not what I was planning or expecting.  I have mostly been at peace with it, am living and exploring this broken pilgrimage as deeply as I can, but there have been some tough, dark days.  I am glad to be well enough to be outside exercising gently now.

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It’s been good to have a chance to read and think and pray.  I’ve been reading a lot about the Cistercian way of life and spirituality.  There’s a lot to reflect on about how this can nourish my life and ministry in the same way that the Carmelite and Franciscan mystics do.  I’ve had space to begin some new poems.

I wrote this posting on the Camino de Santiago Forum a few days ago:

I am supposed to be in the middle of walking The Cistercian Way, a 700 mile pilgrimage around Wales. As always when I set off on a long pilgrimage I promised that I would only stop for two reasons: an emergency call from home or a medical professional telling me to stop.

After 10 days I started getting very bad knee pain. Fortunately I was staying at a monastery and two sisters who were trained nurses looked at it and told me to stop walking. (Also my good friend @Bradypus was nearby and arrived with icepacks, painkillers and a bottle of tinto).

I got the train home the next day. An x ray has been clear and the doctor advised me to rest it for a couple of weeks and then to see if I could gently get back into walking.

It’s been a little over two weeks now. The pain is mostly gone and I am able to do normal day to day activity. Next week I will see about some short walks. If that is OK, I will do some day walks the week after.
If that goes well I will rejoin my route towards the end of it (I will be doing a talk at Tintern Abbey anyway on October 18th) and finish it with a very light pack.

I have been at peace with all this. The pilgrimage has taken me in a different direction from the one I had expected, and I have had a huge amount of space to reflect, read and pray all this.

What I am trying to say in all this is sometimes on Camino an injury means you have to stop. This is not necessarily the end of the pilgrimage or of the journey. It’s hard, but see where it leads.

There have been some lovely insightful responses, really helping me to think what this all means and how to respond well to it.  If you think of anything, please let me know.

I’m keeping you and all those who have asked in my prayers,

Andy

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