Thursday, June 25, 2015

The days are beginning to blur into a smear of color, cowbells, and baguettes

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as  l I have kept  m my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 11:8-13

Real prayer brings us closer to our fellow human beings. Prayer is the first and indispensable discipline of compassion. In the intimacy of prayer, God is revealed to us as the One who loves all the members of the human family just as personally and uniquely as God loves me. Therefore, a growing intimacy with God deepens our sense of responsibility for others. It evokes in us an always increasing desire to bring the whole world with all its suffering and pains around the divine fire in our heart and to share the revitalizing heat with all who want to come. Henri Nouwen, Compassion

And I prayed with Leo before we left in the morning. That he might know this divine love of God. Leo, the nineteen-year-old from Milan with dreads who trims tall trees, but is really a wanderer. But he rescued this dog who was being abused and it is really hard being a pilgrim with a dog because it's hard to find places to stay and now his dog has a hurt leg and he is not sure what he is going to do, but he is going to hang out at the church and see what happens. And Nolina, the Buddhist philosophy major kept hugging me because of the light in my eyes, and she saw it when I was scrubbing clothes on the pila and knew she had to talk to me, so we talked long into the night, and she hugged me again as I left, and we will see each other again.

And we rocked 100 kilometers yesterday, up and down. Even including another tire fixing by Brandon. And we ate breakfast after riding two hours at a place I ate dinner last year, and of course the tiny woman with the big hug remembered me, because, well, not so many tall American women ride through. And last year she took very tender care of me because I had a rough ride and flipped over a guard rail and had a couple of flats and I was a bloody mess. Maybe she remembered that too.

And the boys split off just before Ribadeo, to try a couple of days on El Camino Primitivo, and we walked our bikes across the long, long bridge and are staying in an odd little hotel next to the church and we are the only people here, but we ate a pilgrim's dinner across the street with a statistics professor from Madison who is walking the Camino with his son who just graduated with his degree in aerospace engineering. And we talked long into the night. About miracles because tomorrow we are staying with Andres and Mercedes his wife, and their little boy in Mondonedo. And higher physics is opening the door to the unknown. And if one single miracle steps through even once, it breaks the materialistic paradigm. And they hugged us huge when they left, and I imagine I will see them again.

And in the middle of the conversation, Tracy smiled broadly at a sweet lady walking with an elderly gentleman, and the lady rushed over and started talking about how she was from Cuba and her father should have left her the family store but he didn't but abandoned his bed-ridden wife who needed to be bathed and turned and then the lady's husband died when he was forty-nine and left her with five children and now they all live here in Spain and she provides for them by caring for this old man and now she has to leave and give him his medications, but by the way her spine really hurts. So I prayed for her, and she hugged me even though she didn't come up to my waist.

And just as Tracy and I were ready to leave, two kids from Moscow sat next to us. And they are also biking the Camino. And she works for Microsoft running their online teaching English program and is a yoga instructor. And we talked about tomorrow because Andres was texting me, and I prayed that each of us would see His great power and love in these last three days of Camino. And their faces glowed with desire. And the guy reminded me of Igor in all of the best ways with inflections and word choices and shrugs, and we will see each other again and probably ride the same train to Lisbon on the twenty-seventh.

And the thing is, everyone of these people kept talking about the light in my eyes.  And I pray that it is the divine fire in my heart and that I will clearly share the revitalizing heat with all who want to come.