Thursday, 26 September 2013

The 40th day

Even after 6 weeks the Camino throws up surprises!On Monday at Villafranca de Montes de Oca Amede and I went off to look round the village even though we had been told that the church was closed . I suggested to Amede that we check out what time the bar did breakfast . When we arrived there was a large group having a drink . I suggested to Amede that we have a beer so as not to appear antisocial . When we emerged from the bar they had all gone! We sat on the edge of the busy road . A man came out of the bar and asked if he could join us . He said that he doesn't normally drink but his son had just phoned to say that his father in law had died . He was visibly upset and I spent the next 15 minutes listening to his story and trying to console him . As we returned to the hostel I said to Amede . That was the reason why we went to the bar.
The evening at Atapuerca was very relaxed . We had arranged to meet Pauleen and David at 6th . As we set off I noticed that the church was open . There were two women sitting by the door and their eyes lit up when I said that I am a priest . Very quickly they had me saying mass . The night in the hostel was one of the quietest .On Wednesday we had a gentle walk into Burgos,my 40th day of walking . In the outskirts we called into a shopping centre both looking for belts . I asked someone where the Emaus alberge was and we were soon ensconced.
So what about the 40th day? Well the experience so far has exceeded expectations . As a priest there is no question of doing the Camino for yourself . The range and quality of encounters has been overwhelming . Amede thinks that I talk to everyone . In many ways that is a complement . I have found the last weeks a renewal of priesthood in its truest sense engagement with people . If you engage with people there is a real encounter which is transformative for both . That has happened so many times . I continue to feel unbelievably blessed . As I have commented previously it is very humbling . Today I am resting in Burgos,tomorrow the meseta.

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