October 19, 2022
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ Psalm 119 :105 NRSV
It was fairly easy to find our way on the Camino, thanks to regular markers. Some were yellow arrows painted on a wall or pavement. In towns, brass shells were embedded at regular intervals in the sidewalk. Throughout villages, along forest paths, and small farms milestones that included the kilometers to Santiago de Compostela, a yellow shell with a blue background and an arrow pointing in the right direction were easy to spot. Think, “Follow the yellow arrow. Follow the yellow arrow. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow arrow.” (thanks to Dorothy and Toto) and you could not go wrong. Knowing what to look for helped.
There were occasions when there were two milestones pointing in two different directions. Both directions would get you to where you needed to be, but only ones marked with kilometers took you past a cross and were the more traditional (and longer) way. Our guides gave us a heads-up before we started out in the morning to alert us to those challenges. Having experienced guides helped.
Very few people walk the Camino in reverse, so when we saw other pilgrims with backpacks sporting scallop shells with red crosses heading in the same direction, it was a safe bet to follow them. The wisdom of the community helped.
Two of our companions reported at the end of the day that they had gone the wrong way and did not even notice. They were deep in conversation as they passed through a small village. They did not notice the yellow arrow on the side of a building pointing to the right. They went left and continued on their way unaware of their error. That is, until a man sitting on his porch called out loudly and clearly in English, “You are going the wrong way!” And every once in a while, an angel in the form of local man, helped.
We could not see the end from the beginning, and GPS was useless much of the time. We simply had to pay attention to what was right at our feet and at intervals along the path to find our way. It was a living, walking experience of Psalm 119:105.
Give us just enough light for our feet and path for today. ~ Anne