Camino —Day 8
April 2nd (Holy Thursday)
LOGRONO to NAJERA
“…THERE IS NO WAY TO HAPPINESS—happyness is THE WAY!”
(pg 104/ A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago)
This morning I set out under the stars—the eve before this day I was wakened from a sound sleep to DRUMMING. I rushed to the window and looked down into the streets below…a procession was under way. A large number of men CARRIED the Sorrowful Mother who was adorned by flowers while drums were beaten by others who were draped in costume. I could smell the sweet incense rise. Behind the MOTHER, two men carried the cross. Singing heralded the festivities and the music lulled me to sleep…
I was joined this morning by a few pilgrims. Suddenly, we were interrupted by a young man who insisted that we were OFF the Way. I pointed to the arrows, but he continued to insist. A police car came up the roadway and I waved the officers down…they assured us that we were FOLLOWING the WAY!
I whispered a blessing for the young man—whatever his intent…I’m trusting an ‘inner’ way—
The sun rose from its easel painting scenes I’ve NEVER experienced (again, it is a first time for me—or is it?) A pristine body of water lay before me. Young boys were casting their reels—OFF from school because it is HOLY THURSDAY…little fisher men. When they were out of sight, the path took a curve around the LAKE and there…a family of SWANS. A tear formed and then another—I WAS SO HAPPY. After my grandmother (affectionately called Nanny) died, the swan became her messenger to me. How fitting—on Holy Thursdays I would visit 7 churches with her (tradition). She was NOT a learned woman, but she exuded KINDNESS to me. She always let me be a child growing up…I didn’t always have to be responsible. I walked with her to church EVERY Sunday…I couldn’t wait until she gave me my quarter to go and light a candle. She NEVER demanded that I be anyone but who I was. Church attendance was NOT a weekly solitary EVENT. Nanny began each morning in prayer—on her knees…she did the same before she tucked herself in at night. I was mindful of her ‘gazing’ out the window. She was somewhere else and often I’d say to myself, “I WANT TO GO THERE!” When I sat beside her in church, she’d look at me and say, “We are here for ONLY ONE reason—the ONE who has RISEN.” I thought I understood, but what did I know?
Today, WALKING, everything is RISING—including me. THIS IS THE CHRIST message dwelling in my holy temple.
I felt Nanny’s smile in the dainty yellow flowers. Before her time in this world came to an end, she was unable to speak because of a stroke. I would lay my head on her belly, her fingers in my hair… (I felt them again as the wind blew). I raised my head looking into her eyes and she folded her hands in prayer—this uneducated woman…A Theologian who ALWAYS believed. She needed no SAVING. GRACE was sufficient in her living and her dying. “What ‘sweeter communion’ could feed me this day?”
Songs began to flood my mind—“Joy is like the Rain” and the one of young Mary going off to her cousin Elizabeth, the one who also held a child in her ANCIENT WOMB. Yes, MT Winter, a professor at Hartford Seminary, my mentor, was instrumental in cultivating the feminine in the ‘body’ of so many of us (sisters) in the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). These women are in my mind and in my heart as I walk the Camino and I sense their “being” with me.
Today I recalled MT’s book Eucharist with a small “e”…fitting this day as I walked into church and as I sat for some moments THINKING about that “PASSOVER” meal—living it in a NEW way after MT put flesh on it for me as she does in so many instances in my life (without even realizing).
I felt myself in that room with Christ and His friends who gathered with Him. When He says “THIS IS MY BODY,” He meant everyone in front of Him…He meant ME and YOU! We are the LIVING body of Christ and EVERY TIME we eat it, it is a banquet of LOVE. Often I forget that what I consume becomes a part of me and I a part of it—the connections are ETERNAL.
How , how can I NOT be HAPPY…?