The end was in site, with only 60 miles to go until Santiago. You must walk the last 60 miles from the town of Sarria to Santiago in order to be “official ” and receive the credential of certification. I woke up in Sarria ready and raring to make it to Santiago for the third time and third certificate. The third time isn’t always the charm and it certainly wasn’t in my case, as severe pains in my gut caused me to walk at a snail’s pace, with each step getting worse.
I made it 6 miles until I reached a small roadside cafe where, thank God, Jessica and Anna were at a table sipping something. They took one look at me and knew all wasn’t well. I sat there thinking about the last 60 miles, 6 of which I just walked. Something deep down within me knew the party was over and time to call it quits, which I did. Anna graciously got me a cab and even paid for it. They both were sad for me but I knew that my health is more important than finishing and even receiving that certificate. It just wasn’t meant to be…God had other plans.
The Camino teaches much, even…especially when things don’t work out the way planned or envisioned. The gentleman who gave me my final stamp at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago saw clearly from my passport that I left the Camino after Sarria. He looked up at me with sad eyes knowing my disappointment but I quickly assured him I was just fine. He was the kindest man to me at a awkward moment. He reminded me that I should return and do the last 4 days and receive the Credential. He made out a special certificate indicating I walked from St. John pied de Porte, France to Sarria. How beautiful!!
I’ve spent the last the few days in Santiago, alone, enjoying the city and people watching with great coffee. Called the doctor and am on antibiotics for whatever it is I have. Things are fine. Looking forward to Chicago and being in familiar surroundings not living out of a backpack. Everyone in the journey returned today, happy and relieved that they made it, and indeed they did. I’m proud of them and their spirit of commitment and perseverance. As I believe, the Camino doesn’t start until the moment you get off that plane and are home.
The experience of the Camino must be let go of so that its Graces may begin to work. We grow as we let go and look back at the experiences that have changed our lives and allow Memory to move us forward. But WHAT we remember will determine HOW we move forward…or don’t move at all. I’m so grateful that these people let me in on their Camino, for our journeys intersected in joy and hope.
I return with so many uncertainties and isn’t that the way of life? Everything about the future is uncertain. Where will God lead me, how will I know God’s Will, who are the people and friends walking the “way” with me, how will I deal with loneliness, illness, change and aging? Don’t these questions all sound so familiar? Life IS uncertain except for one thing: we have our faith which anchors us in hope and love.
And it is Love which always has the last word.
Peace. Fr. Frank
10 thoughts on “My Camino Ends Early. November 4, 2016”
Fr Frank we are so proud of you! You inspire us. We look forward to welcoming you home. God speed!
Ann & Marty
Oh, Fr. Frank John, this is so beautiful . . . your ability to see things with such grace gives grace to all of us who share in the journey with you…..
Thank you do much Mary for all your wonderful comments. This is quite the journey!!! Home one Monday night. Thanks be to God. Peace. FJ
You are an inspiration to so many of us and we will continue the walk with you upon your welcome return. This party may be over but there are more parties forthcoming. Blessings. Sylvester.
Thank you so much. Can’t wait to see you and have a great laugh. Peace. Joy. The other Sylvester
So close…… You had an amazing journey. I’ll walk those mikes with you next year. Safe travels home.
Claro que the journey, the camino never ends. La esperanza y fe. esperar = to wait for, to hope:) No puedo esperar hasta que tengamos tiempo para charlar. Te admiro. Espero que sigas mejorando. xoxo
Frankie, I am so sorry that you got ill, you are in my prayers! You are so special to me and to so many others, our Lord knows how special you are and that you are an important part of our lives! We need you to be there for us! Please know that I (we) love you very much and are in our prayers always! Your lovingAunt Mary, 🙏🙏🙏😘😘😘🌴🌴🌴
Father Frank, your spiritual example inspires more people than you know! The main thing is that you recover well and continue to lead our unique, lucky family of faith at St Teresa’s. You are in our prayers and hearts. Peace, from Brooklyn.
Dear Father, a Hail Mary for you every day and She walks with you. We miss and love you. St Teresa will welcome you home. Peace be with you.