Right now I’m walking along the winding but beautiful paths of the Camino de Ingles in northern Spain. I try to organize a charity walk every year for a special cause and for various charities and have done this at this time of year for the past few years and always remembered our loved ones who preceded during this special month of Our Lady.
I have been walking and praying for about a week now for everyone who has asked me to pray for them, especially for some of my family and close friends who have sadly passed away, especially in the past two years of the pandemic. In addition, I continually prayed for all the rescuers, caregivers, nurses, doctors, gardai, coastguards, teachers, paramedics and first aiders and responders, religious people and everyone involved in everything work that cares for those in need and especially for help and support to our homeless and those most in need in our country and around the world and to anyone who is sick or sick at home or to the hospital.
I also remembered all my co-workers and the people and children we work with and for in many countries in Africa and other parts of our world, especially in war-torn countries and those affected by famine and drought. Although the long-distance walk may be seen by some as just a sporting event, based on my experience last week on the Camino Way, I would call it an allegory of life. So what life lessons can we learn from walking a 150km charity walk or being a walker or pilgrim on the highways and paths of the Camino or any other specific challenges we face in life? These are some of the thoughts that came to me as I reflected and traveled through my Camino charity journey on this occasion along the Camino de Inglese Way where I had plenty of time to reflect on life and some of the lessons it taught me so far.
As I walked my Camino charity walk, it reinforced for me that life is about the journey, not the end result. I also realized that this might be my last time on a charity walk like this, so I needed to savor the experience. I thought, “this is it, the moment I worked so hard for.” I needed to enjoy the walking experience not to wish for it and especially because it is along the Camino path one of my favorite places in the whole world and what an experience it has been up to present with many epiphanies and very spiritual moments with some difficulty as I walked along the Path and enjoyed every minute of it.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive and the prayer becomes very basic: ‘Please go to bed’, ‘Please God take me to the top of this hill’, ‘Please please, God stops the pains in my legs and my head” or “Are we there already? ‘But walking towards the goal of Santiago following arrows, road maps and signs, remembering that for centuries others have walked these paths and carrying prayers and intentions for everyone I know or who asked me and thinking of Aoife and all my ancestors and thanking them for the love they gave in their lives so that I could be where I am today was a great experience, allowing the physical experience to become the prayer, the weight of the backpack, the aches, blisters and pains, the warmth of the sun when it shone, the beautiful and abundant wild flowers, the trees, the birds, the choirs of frogs, the bells that sometimes rang in my ears from bicycles, cows and churches, incredible scenery, sharing a meal, sharing a burden, realizing that the many other people I met along the way all have a choice in common, we were all walkers and pilgrims on the path of life.
Often we wish our lives would fade away, wanting to reach a certain place in life to be happy. However, often the satisfaction derived from setting a goal is not so much in achieving the goal, but in anticipating and striving towards the goal. So as much as possible try to enjoy the trip as much as the end results as I did with my Camino attempt. The journey itself makes you a walker and a pilgrim. Because the path of the walker is not only a path to be traveled to get somewhere, nor a test to achieve some reward. The walk of the walk is both a parable and a reality because it is done both inside and outside of one’s body in the specific time it takes to complete each step and throughout throughout his life if only you allow the walk of prayer to enter your head, heart and soul to transform you and make you a walker and a pilgrim on the path of life. This charity walk called me to contemplate, to marvel, to welcome, to share, to heal, to cry, to heal, to forgive, to internalize, to stop, to be silent, to listen, to challenge , to risk, to admire, to love, to pray, to bless nature, to bless family, friends, colleagues and companions on the path of life, to bless our own path of life and to be always grateful to our God. In a tough walk like my Camino charity walk, as in life, the key is just to keep going, even if it means going slow. No matter how difficult things get, even though there are many hills blocking your view of the finish line, there is usually an end in sight, if we keep moving forward. Life is hard. We are under pressure, stressed and pulled in various directions and especially with all that has happened in our world with the pandemic. In the midst of the rush and bustle of everyday life, it can be easy to get lost and forget what really matters.
The Beatitudes of a Walker
In closing, allow me to leave you with The Beatitudes of a Walker that help me on my life journey. 1. Lucky are you a walker, if you discover that your “walk” opens your eyes to the unseen. 2. Happy are you a walker, if what concerns you most is not arriving, like arriving with others. 3. Happy are you a walker, when you contemplate your “walk” and discover that it is full of names and dawns. 4. Happy are you a walker, for you have discovered that the authentic “walk” begins when it is finished. 5. Happy are you a walker, if your backpack is empty of things and your heart does not know where to hang so many feelings and emotions. 6. Happy are you a walker, if you discover that one step back to help another is more valuable than a hundred forwards without seeing what is beside you. 7. Happy are you a walker, when you have no words to thank for everything that surprises you at every twist and turn of the way. 8. Happy are you a walker, if you seek the truth and make your “walk” a life and your life a “path” in search of the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 9. Happy are you a walker, if on the way you meet and give yourself time, without rushing, so as not to neglect the image in your heart. 10. Blessed are you a walker, if you discover that your “walk” contains much silence, and the silence of prayer, and the prayer of encounter with God who expects you to dwell with Him.
Thought of the week
As a thought for the week, keep moving forward no matter what challenges life throws at you and don’t be afraid to give help and receive help as you make this journey in life. and don’t forget to savor the experience because it’s all about the journey when it comes to your life challenges!! We are all walkers and pilgrims on this journey of life. Let’s take this opportunity to love and bless each other along the way!! The following prayer has always helped me on my journey and maybe it can help you on yours!!! “Do you want me to be your servant? Let me be like Christ to you. Pray for me to have grace. To allow you to be my servant as well. We are traveling pilgrims.
We are brothers and sisters on the road. We are here to help each other. Walk the mile and carry the load. I will hold the light of Christ for you. In the night of your fear. I will reach out to you. Speak the peace you desire to hear. I will cry when you cry. When you laugh, I laugh with you. I will share your joy and your pain. Until we saw this journey through. When we sing to God in heaven. We will find such harmony. Born to all we have known together of the love and agony of Christ. Amen.”