Lessons from the Road: A Pilgrim´s Diary
In real life, though the theft is not always so obvious. When we lose something or someone, we first complain and crib because we fail to see the logic of it. It is easy to ask, “why me?”
Pilgrims on Camino often leave things at pilgrim´s shelter that they cannot carry any longer with them. The person-in-charge at this shelter where are resting for the night shows me the basket full of clothes, hats, medicines, etc. left by pilgrims perhaps for someone like me who had lost everything right at the start of the track. Strangely though, I don’t find myself short of anything in particular. I reluctantly pick a hat.
Next day, we walk a whole day and reach the pilgrim´s shelter at Vega de Valcarce, another beautiful hilly village in the region of Galicia. I buy a poncho and a pilgrim’s staff but soon I find them also unnecessary. I also buy some essential clothing also. We hit a stretch of steep downhill thereafter. First blisters show up.
We walk about 20 kms to reach Cebrero. Here in a souvenir shop, I buy a small backpack and finally, at almost one-third of the size of my original backpack, I am once again a regular pilgrim with all I need for my journey!
Who would believe that when I had left Madrid I was carrying such a heavy backpack with so many things which all seemed so essential to me. I could not remove any of those things to reduce the weight until the thief robbed me of all my stuff! All that weight now seems so futile.
Isn´t it true that away from this surreal journey, in “real” life too we end up gathering so much useless stuff along our journey? Stuff that we don’t really need but all of which, of course, seems essential and indispensable to make our life happier and more comfortable.
Then there is this other kind of burden – the burden of emotional baggage – which is even more difficult to get off our backs and left behind. Be it the weight of a regret from the past weighing on our conscience or that of a relationship whose expiry date passed long ago and all it does now is poison your present.
In real life though the theft is not always so obvious. When we lose something or someone, we first complain and crib because we fail to see the logic of it. It is easy to ask, “why me?” It takes a while though, and sometimes, a lifetime to realize that an apparent loss could eventually prove to be a blessing in disguise. That perhaps we needed a new backpack and one with only essentials this time. If we could do that each one of us could walk lighter and reach farther in our journeys.