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.