Webster Bull has finished his journeying on The Way in Spain but not his learning. Read this excerpt and learn along with him. I did:
We had a long day Friday, leaving Finisterre in a rented car at 11 a.m. and arriving at Ávila, home of Santa Teresa de Jesús, by 7:30 p.m., in time to put Marian's friend Caro on the 8 p.m. train to Madríd. In two days, since leaving Santiago to meet Marian on Thursday, I had driven as far as we had previously walked in five weeks on the Camino de Santiago: 800 kilometers. The reality shift was harsh. What were we doing in a car, and where were we headed?
The Camino continues, or so I tell myself. If there was any lasting value in our pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, then it must be with me now, and I am taking it home to the States with me on Tuesday. Taking what?
There is one clear lesson the Camino has given me, and it is something St. Teresa explains in her "Book of the Foundations," about her experiences founding new convents. It is the freedom that comes with obedience. While we were walking, Marian and I were obedient to the Camino. We could set our own pace, deciding when to set out and when to knock off each day. But to follow the Camino meant walking toward Santiago, always west, and accepting the seemingly random people we met as fellow pilgrims. This gave us an unusual freedom: from anxiety about present or future life, or even about who to hang out with. Sure, we had blisters to tend and we got tired. But we were following something as unambiguous as a series of yellow arrows on the ground.
This is one of the Camino's secrets, I think, the freedom that comes with following. Others credit endorphins for the high they feel, or just being "free" from daily duties. Now that I'm headed back to daily duties, I no longer need to obey the Camino, and I feel a growing anxiety. As our drive yesterday revealed to each of us, we are adrift again, wandering in the "real" world.
Are we reading AND inwardly digesting?