Last night, as I sat waiting for news, for updates, for people to hit that “I’m safe” button on Facebook, I posted this to a Facebook group of Via Podiensis (Le Puy to St. Jean) pilgrims:
Seven months ago, I did not personally know anyone who lived in Paris. I had never even been to France.
Last night, when I heard about the tragedy unfolding half a world away from where I sat, safe in Seattle, my mind flooded with specific names and faces, true friends I made as I walked the Way and who were now far too close to danger. People who realistically could be at a concert or a soccer match or a restaurant on a normal Friday night in November.
This is a gift that the Via Podiensis, the Way of Saint Jacques, gave me: to feel the world much closer, and much more personally. To know a place not just as a name on a map, but as someone’s home.
My heart is in France today, and my prayers are with all of you who are physically there.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.”