Note – Problems posting Photos

Apparently there is a problem attaching iPhone pix to a wordpress blog – they don´t seem to be recognized as JPEG files. Still trying to figure out a workaround, These posts would have alot more flavor with some of the magnificant scenery I see everyday. I can post a photo, but not with text – likely because out of country and something to do with data uploads. I´´ll keep trying.

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Waymarkers, mid-day Wednesday

The Camino de Santiago is an assortment of routes that lead to the Cathedral of San-tiago (Spanish for St. James), where St. James the Greater, one of Jesus three closest companions was buried.  Along these routings are markers to let the pilgrims (perigrinos) know that they, indeed, are on the right road.  Most of the times the markers consist of a small, simple yellow arrow, painted on the street, curb or side of a building.  This instills much confidence after hours of hiking that the weary traveler is traveling in the right direction.  Outside the cities, towns, and villages the waymarkers are constructed of concrete, small pillars about three feet tall, with the symbol of the camino attached as a ceramic tile to its side.  These are strategically placed to greatly aid the perigrino by confraternity volunteers, and are greatly appreciated for the same reason.  You come to expect these at regular intervals, every few miles, and start to feel lost and question your path when you havent seen one recently.  Its rather easy to daydream, or get lost in thought, contemplation and prayer and miss an indicator which may have indicated a turn, for instance.

So with that backdrop, I was walking along alone this morning and happened upon a group of three ladies who were speaking in English.  As I closed the distance behind them, I realized they were Irish, speaking with quite a brogue.  We introduced ourselves, with the typical small-talk, and they inquired as to whether or not I´d been to Ireland.  Well of course these stories of  Camille, my oldest daughter being a many time American Irish dance champion, with the resultant trips overseas, including Ireland came out.  Soon we were discussing our friends Donica and Sheena (I never can get the Gaelic spelling of their names right, so I won´t even try), who own a B & B in Roosky, in Rosscommon.

As we chatted about such stuff, we walked through a typical small town in rural Spain, with the one beautiful village Church crumbling.  Of course this then became a topic of discussion including the magnificent cathedrals throughout the place in much need of repair, and the consolation it brought to see at least a few of them being restored.

I made the passing remark that the churches in ruins were perhaps but a commentary of what has happened to Christianity throughout Europe and beyond.  The Irish ladies, from a wonderful island that had provided perhaps more priests than any other part of the world, then commented that the church scandals had really damaged people´s faith, as well as any support of religion whatsoever, especially in Ireland.

The lightbulb, of course, then went on.  I pointed out that throughout life, our leaders – our parents, elected officials, scout leaders, friends, mentors, and yes even our priests and ministers are in fact “waymarkers.” They serve to guide us, to point the proper direction, to guide the way.  The proplem is that all of these “waymarkers” are simply human beings, with all the weaknesses, frailties, and sinful tendencies that all of society, all of us have as humans – it is the “human condition.”  Not to belittle the scandals, or any sin for that matter.

Most of the waymarkers along the road were in excellent condition, well maintained with fresh “clamshell” icons, and a coat of paint.  A few had a few cracks, but were generally in acceptable shape, and served the purpose of guiding us in the correct direction.  However more than a few were in dis-repair, crumbling, and a couple in a sad pile of rubble on the ground.

And so the metaphor is obvious.  Because our waymarkers are also human, they can crumble, like we can, and often do.  “Still,” Irish Eileen exclaimed, she´d ¨”not be going back into a church anytime soon.”  Fair enough, but perhaps this give us some thoughts to ponder.  The fact that our waymarkers crumble doesn´t stop our Camino.  The road still leads to Santiago, there will be twists and turns along the road, with the need to have guidance when there is an obstacle.  The Church and all it offers, the sacrifice of the Mass, the social gathering strengthening and supporting each other.  The fact that the markers sometimes crumble is irrelevant to the goal, the desired endpoint.

Of course we expect our leaders to have a higher standard.  And when they look at themselves in the mirror, I´m sure many are disappointed in themselves.  As I am many times.  As we all are, if we´re being honest.

The direction of our Camino leads to ¨Santiago”  Lets not give up the journey because we sometimes get lost or are confused as to whether or not we´re on the right road.  There is a right road, a correct path. It does exist, and we all do our best to stay on it.  Buen Camino

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Fromista, mid-day Monday

John Brierly is petty clear in “A Pilgrim´s Guide to the Camino,¨that Fromista derives its name from its importance in wheat production to the Roman Empire.  I choose, instead, to believe it means, “from the mist.”

I´m reminded of a story told on a retreat by now deceased Jesuit Fr. John Powell about Florence Chadwick, the first woman to attempt to swim the English Channel.  She failed, giving up hope less than 100 meters from shore.  When asked by reporters why she pleaded for the rescue boat to bring her up, she offered this insight.  Were you too cold?  Were you too tired?  ¨No,¨she replied, Ït was the fog.  I lost all bearing from the heavy mist, became confused, and lost all hope and faith.

And so it is with us.  Tragedy and overwhelming loss results in such a thick fog that we lose all bearing and have no idea which way is forward, even how to stay afloat.  We risk drowning in despair and have no ability to ¨see the shore.¨  It is so important to have an inner compass, something in place enabling us to stay afloat, so that when the fog lifts, which it eventually will, we can take a deep warming breath and head towards the shore again.

Many of us walk through life with no faith whatsoever.  A catastrophic loss completely destroys an individual with no direction to begin with.  Even those who truly believe they have a strong faith, a genuine relationship with their God, face an unpredictable event when their lives are shattered by tragedy.

I´ve been asked by many people at home, and by a surprising number of atheists and agnostics here on Camino, how I could possibly keep my faith after such a loss. After a year of contemplation, the only answer is – how could I possibly continue without my faith.  It has been the only thing to keep my head above water, as I emerge ¨From the mist.¨

Note: Despite untold sums of these funny looking coins repeatedly deposited into this machine (pay by the minute computer at the hostel), the pictures on my phone continue to be apparently unacceptable files.¨ So, very sorry – but no pix for now, too bad many are simply stunning.

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Mama Needs Coffee

Doing life Catholic

Mama Needs Coffee

God | Family | Coffee | Books | Gilmore Girls | Harry Potter | Photography | Music

theological pipe

Put that in your theological pipe and smoke it...

Jonathan's Blog

Reflections on the glory of God

Some Days in My Lives

Loving Pets and Their People

trekker2013's Blog

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

dogtorbill

“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Movin' it with Michelle

Running, Recipes, and Real life adventures!

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

gidivet camino

learning the unforced rhythms of grace

The Cereal Bowl

Taking life one spoonful at a time

St. Val the Eccentric

Contemplative musings on life and faith from a creative original

howsyourlovelife

Improving my love of life.... through loving God, self and others

Thinking Out Loud

Children Matter

sharsharklein

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Positively Sober

I'm just a girl from Boston living with AIDS and addiction. Two diseases, one slogan: Silence = death.

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