August 31, 2022
“Bucket List: a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”
One month from today Rod and I depart for Spain and the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James). I don’t recall the moment when I first heard of the Camino de Santiago, but from that moment, it was up there on the top of my bucket list. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) dates to the beginning of the 9th century. There are several different routes that pilgrims can take, but all of them end at the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the apostle are buried.
Back in the day, I imagined myself following the entire French route, stretching 313 kilometers from the south of France, over the Alps and ending in Santiago. Three hip surgeries and many years later, and a work schedule that doesn’t allow for a month of walking about Europe, Rod and I will start in Leon, Spain, hop onto the Camino, and hopefully complete the final 110 km and make it to Santiago.
It’s on my bucket list because it is a pilgrimage to me. On a pilgrimage, the intention is to be open to God and allow the experience to transform you. It is not about the destination(s), as either a vacation or pilgrimage can explore an historic site or sacred spot – it is about the journey within. Pilgrimages, in my opinion, continue to transform you long after you are done.
This will be my third pilgrimage. The first was “In the footsteps of Jesus and the Women: A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the Sinai with 11 other women in 2011. It was a life changing experience one year after my mother died. Such a trip was on mom’s bucket list, but she never made it. I carried her in my heart. The second was a Thirty Day Spiritual Exercises Silent Retreat in Sedona, CO. Hours spent walking in the foothills, days of silent reflection in nature, in a community of others was life changing as well.
Open to God: what a lovely phrase. Not an agenda or goal as much as being present to the Holy One.
May I be open. ~ Anne