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The following was recently posted by a peregrina walking the Camino trying to rediscover herself. It was actually very touching so I thought I would share this with you.
“ I had my best night on the Camino the prior evening. I’d checked into the Santa Maria albergue run by five nuns that host a sing-along each night at 5 p.m. I’d been sitting outside in the back yard drinking wine with a Dutch woman and one from Seattle when I heard the voices of the nuns carry through the open window. I’d rushed inside to see what it was all about.
The nuns were sitting on chairs in the front of the room and, between them, two local teenage girls played the guitar and sang with beautiful voices. I sat down on a bench opposite the nuns and together everyone in the room sang Amazing Grace. Then we sang Hallelujah, the Jeff Buckley version, and if there was a dry eye in the room I couldn’t find it.
The experience was incredibly moving. I think that no matter if you believe in a Christian God or in God at all that you cannot sit in a room and sing with twenty other people and not feel that there is something powerful and indefinable in the room with you.
After singing with the nuns I was floating. So I decided to take a walk around town to process the experience. The sun was setting and I walked up the stone streets to a church on a hill that I hoped would have a view. There was no one around except for an old couple propped up on a bench with their dog. I asked if I could take their photo.
We got to talking and I told them I’d come up to watch the sunset. They insisted that there was a better place to view it and they stood to walk me there. They were talking a million miles a minute and I understood only a fraction of what they said. But the old woman wrapped her arm through mine to steady herself down the stairs and I felt as though I was in the company of people I’d known forever.
We walked at a snails pace and Luna, the dog, ran in front of us. As promised they brought me to an overlook. We arrived just in time to see the final bits of color leak from the sky. The river was flowing far below. They insisted that I walk down to see it and I agreed and they bid me farewell with a pat on the arm and called, “Buen Camino!” as I walked away.
I’m thinking of this as I walk the empty streets of Carrion. And it occurs to me that the Camino isn’t about finding God at the end of the rainbow, so to speak, but in ourselves and in each other. That maybe it’s about seeing God in the singing nuns and the old couple that walked me to the sunset and the pilgrims that snore next to me at night. Perhaps the challenge, and the point, is to see God not as separate from us but as us. “
Magical evening in the parish albergue “Santa Maria” in Carrión de los Condes. All singing “Caminante” with lyrics from a poem by Antonio Machado.