Day 7: The Friends We Make Along The Way
By Suzanne Lipscomb and Judy Conner
As we walk the Camino we are reminded by the many churches and chapels that dot the towns and roadways that we follow in the footsteps of many pilgrims who have traveled the Camino. From Saints such as St. Francis who walked the Camino over 800 years ago and stayed to set up missions, to Saint Irene, whose Grotto and Chapel we passed today, to of course, St. James. As important as these Saintly figures are to us along the Camino, it is the everyday saints and travelers who we meet along the way that give meaning and context to our journeys and help us understand better our own purpose in walking the Camino.
Over this past week we have met Angel and his two sons who have traveled the Camino every year for the past eight years, Lag Maria, a young Danish woman and her mother fascinated by the idea of a church whose members would walk the Camino together, and the group of young men from Malta who have enlivened the Camino with their jokes and songs. All of these encounters remind us that we long for connections with others. Each of us wants to finish the Camino with companions who have become friends. The same is true of our relationship with each other and St. Michael. We want a church that offers community, a sense of belonging, and a spiritual home. And, of course, we all walk the Camino to become closer to Christ. Christ reveals himself to us as we talk to each other and learn about each other’s burdens and joys.
Several of us today left our rocks – something special to us or a symbol of something that burdens us – along the trail today. As we look to the journey to Santiago tomorrow we hope to arrive lightened from our burdens and uplifted by the bonds of friendship that have formed along the Camino. We begin as companions. We finish as friends.