I don’t know about you, but the news has been increasingly hard for me to watch recently..and equally hard to look away from. My heart feels like it’s already full to overflowing, and then something else happens.
I’ve been trying to take social media breaks and turn off the news after a certain hour every night. Instead, I’m re-exploring the Camino…the antithesis of all of this modern anger and fear-based behavior.
One of the YouTube series I love is the quirky Beyond the Way, which follows a young Australian’s Camino, beginning in Saint Jean Pied de Port. The whole series is worth checking out, with lovely images that will put you right back on the Camino Frances, and stories from people met along the way. But the most recent episode stands out for its timeliness:
This was one of the deepest, most fundamental truths of my own Camino:
“We’re all in the same boat here; we have to help each other.”
In a world that’s increasingly polarized between “us” and “them,” where “them” is often portrayed as an enemy not worthy of respect, the Camino is different.
When you’re a pilgrim, all of those “other” differences melt away. Wherever you’re from, whether you’re a conservative or liberal, whether you support closing the borders or opening them wider, whether you’re eighteen or eighty, whether you are the CEO of a company or an unemployed dishwasher, a police officer or an anarchist, you still have to put on your boots and walk. You’re going to get blisters, you’re going to get hot, and some part of your body is probably going to hurt. And if you’re lucky, there will be someone on the trail to share your journey. To carry your pack if you’re injured, or to buy you a drink to celebrate the day.
“When you are at your lowest, you will meet someone, who will lift you and get you back to where you were.”
Over and over, when we needed it people reached out…offering to translate, to make a phone call and arrange reservations, to share their food, or their knowledge, or their company. Often, we didn’t even understand one another. Yet with some simple phrases, and a lot of charades, we became friends. The world grew a little kinder.
Regardless of what happens on the news, this is my Camino truth: I can’t make the hills get flatter or make the path smoother to walk, but every day I have the opportunity to carry someone’s load, buy them a drink, and treat them like the valuable human beings they are.