Thursday, June 25, 2015

A reflection from the last hostel window, overlooking the plaza of Compostela.

Is there a way to nurture that faith within us?  The answer is yes: it is the way of poverty, the way that Jesus himself shows us as He moves to the cross. Jesus consistently refuses the way of success, power, influence, and celebrity. Always, he chooses the way of weakness, powerlessness, compassion, and obscurity-the way of the poor.

In the midst of the world, but hidden from its view, something very new, very tender, and very fragile can be born. When such a new birth takes place in and among us, we will recognize it, even though we lack the words to express it fully. It is the work if the Holy Spirit, the Spirit from above. It is the greatest gift a human being can receive, a gift to be gently held, carefully protected, and patiently led to full maturity. Henri Nouwen, "Reborn from Above"

So it was raining this morning, and Andres and Mercedes kept peering out of the window and offering words of experience and thus, wisdom. David was still in bed, savoring the first day of summer vacation. And with all of the green tea and chocolates and warning shakes of heads, Tracy and were very willing to doze under the blankets Andres had tucked under our chins.

But at last we had to head up through the very thick, very damp fog. So thick, in fact that the national highway had been closed and all of that traffic was being poured into our humble regional roadway. And we head uphill for a long, long time, our bodies rebellious but our hearts full, reflecting on new birth, and what we had just seen.

And those 47 kilometers seemed long. But we made it into the albergue of last year with the big shelves for boots. And there were no visions or conversations. A quiet night of consideration, in the midst of the rumble of many pilgrims.

And it is possible that we will make it into Santiago tomorrow, although I am thinking about staying on the Mountain of Joy. And so I spent a lot of time reflecting on this long ride, its purpose and impact. And the initial goal of Brandon Time sort of evaporated, although I do hope seeds of friendship have been sown deeply. And my prayers for freedom, joy, love and vocation are still intangible, much like that dense fog of yesterday, where we could not see either where we had been, nor where we were going.

But, dear Lord God Almighty, I pray that something very new, albeit very tender, has been born, a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in my life. A gift to be carefully led to maturity, a well-watered tree planted by Your river, fruitful and strong, vibrant and whole.

And I read a post from Nicholas about no pain in freedom. And one can parse words and argue definitions, but what spoke to me is the joy in singlemindedness.

....

And we rolled into the plaza in front of Santiago de Campostela yesterday at three. And those last 87 km were steep ups and downs, even after the fabled hardest climb of El Norte, but it didn't matter; my mantra was "no pain in freedom."

And all along the way were memorials to His past faithfulness, the ancient tree in Baamondo, the pausing point on the highway where Andres knelt in the road, the roundabout where the three bumbling pilgrims comforted me, life is full of Joshua Stones. He is faithful. And nothing else matters.

And today I will confess my lack of singlemindedness. And attend the Mass of the Pilgrims. And continue the way that lies ahead, with the joy set before me.

But, dear Lord God Almighty, I pray that something very new, albeit very tender, has been born, a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in my life. A gift to be carefully led to maturity, a well-watered tree planted by Your river, fruitful and strong, vibrant and whole.