October 4, 2023

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” Psalm 141:2

Yesterday was the first day we walked on the Camino, a low mileage day mostly uphill for about 4.5 miles. We finished our day’s walk at Cruz de Hierro (Iron Cross). It is the highest point along the Camino Frances. For over a thousand years pilgrims have left a stone at the cross, a symbol of leaving sins behind, or to remember loved ones, or to pray.

So here is a confession. I intended to bring some of my sister Carol’s ashes, just like I’ve intended to bring them on a trip to the ocean and visits to my sons. Guess it’s not the right time yet. Grief has no timeline.

Before we stepped onto the Camino we stopped for a bathroom break at a small hostel along the route. There was a courtyard with two stone ladybugs decorating a flower bed. My mom and I had a thing for ladybugs. Their presence at the beginning of the walk was a reminder that I haven’t left anyone behind. I carry them with me.

I did not forget to bring a stone. I carried a small heart-shaped stone from Seven Bends State Park in memory of my parents, my sisters, and dear friends; as an act of thanksgiving and prayer for Rod, Seth, Jean-Philippe, Dan, Kristie, Lilian, Ross, Anne-Sophie, and Marie-Helene; as well as dear friends and St Paul’s UC

It’s amazing how much one little stone can carry. And how much peace, lightness and joy can come from such a tiny act. Imagine all those prayers from Pilgrims over a millennium in one particular spot. Multiply it by all the prayers of all time.

May our prayers rise as sweet incense to the Lord.~ Anne

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