At the Mountain of Joy, our hearts are filled with sadness

Lessons from the Road: A Pilgrim´s Diary

Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to the “real life” and our fellow ‘travelers’ sufferings, their joys and their sorrows would no longer be our business.

On the eleventh day of the trek, we are at Monte del Gozo – Mountain of Joy. We can see the domes of the Cathedral of Santiago from the hilltop.   We are sad because tomorrow the journey is going to be over.

We have been walking towards this goal since last eleven days and when we are just on the cusp of achieving it, it doesn’t really seem to matter a lot.   Turns out the journey has become more important for us than the destination itself.

After settling down at the refuge, I am standing at the hilltop next to this monument for pilgrims.   Standing at this point I am telling my friend Joseph:

“Tomorrow onwards our mornings won’t be filled with the excitement of walking towards a clear and definite target.  A target which becomes our personal goal for the day, and our evenings will no longer be a celebration of having achieved that goal.

We will not be looking after those travelling beside us.  We will  not be tending to the blisters of a complete stranger.  Tomorrow onwards, our lives will be back to the “real life” and our fellow ‘travelers’ sufferings, their joys and their sorrows would no longer be our business.  All we would be expected to do is worry about achieving our own goals – goals which would neither be clear nor there would be any yellow signs pointing us in the right direction.”

Joseph, who had been trying to pay attention to what I was saying despite him feeling equally sad and lost in his own reflections responded, “If this is the description of our lives away from Camino, that’s not a lot to look forward to”.

Yes, it is certainly not a lot to look forward to.  Unless, of course, we go back with the resolve to change all that;  unless we decide to implement in our lives the lessons learnt on the Camino, and unless we change our apathy towards people around us to the compassion, the empathy we have been showing to our fellow pilgrims on the Camino.

How do we achieve that?

Well, tomorrow we are going to walk the last leg of our journey.  I hope we find answers before we end this journey.

 

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