March 25th (One day before I walk)
Across from me…
An empty chair—
I sat across from it
as breakfast was served.
A first meal—
An array of fine spreads—
and, a pot of fresh coffee.
I bowed my head—
at first, in disbelief…
and then, in gratitude.
The table before me
NOW an altar—
And—the chair in
front of me
was no longer empty.
In less than 24 hours I shall begin walking The Way…
Mindful of Holy Mother…in the unseeing mystery, I set out upon St Jean Pied de Port to explore.
The sun split the clouds, the rain stopped (for now). My eyes could not stop scanning ALL the vistas before me.
The cobblestone street beneath my steps led me to The Church of Our Lady—
St James stood before me holding a staff. The arch I would walk under/through tomorrow pulled me like a string.
I, a fine piece of thread, began rolling into a spool of fabric. What will I LOOK like in the end? (NOT physically, but yes, physically). Will my color change from day to day? Will I become more resilient, strong, able to break by a simple pull only to graft myself back in?
No fears—only a certain sadness as the church doors were LOCKED. I took a few steps and saw a woman drawing nearer. She held what appeared an ancient key. Something in me spoke before I thought, “Mam, is that the KEY to the church?” She nodded, “Yes” and told me, invited me, “COME.”
I followed—she opened the door and welcomed me to enter. She gave me permission to walk in first. I almost declined, but some THING nudged me through.
Deep darkness…in the corner I saw candles burning. The woman turned on the lights, AND there SHE was.
I wept like someone released the flood gates. From where did all these tears come? BEFORE me, the WOMAN holding the seed of Her womb.
I, too, a seed of CREATION’S MOTHER’S womb. Each of us is born ‘into’ life…a maternal thrust inviting us to BE. I tried to pray…all that kept coming was THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK YOU!
I felt like the MOST beautiful dandelion. Yes, a magnificent weed in the garden of life fully blossomed…my seeds already whipped by the winds into the Universe and all that is left…a heavenly stem. This is not sad…its ending has prepared for this beginning.
In the words of Meister Eckhart, “I pray God to make me free of God…that we (I) may gain the truth & enjoy it eternally.”
I’m in the eternal BELIEVING and disbelieving. I’ve left so much of me behind seeking the me in SILENT WONDERMENT…already I’m seeing so much I know NOT how to take it all in.
The ‘me’ back HOME a LIVING rescuer…No wonder my background…Chaplain (at the age of 25, and even before that during my early years growing up) and a Police Officer for a short time.
The wise words of a member of the Board of Chaplains haunts me—“Sandra, it will be a fine day when you choose a path where you’re NOT caring for the rest of the world!”
Caring for OTHERS has always come naturally to me. While I am able to share my past with all the moments that brought me here—persons who stretched me to breaking points, this is not about these stories…it is about me and who I’ve become and continue becoming. I would NOT change one thing…everything has been gift—yes, even the losses. I know I’ve hurt some, disappointed others, but I can honestly say it WAS NOT deliberate. I ask forgiveness and I give back forgiveness…trying, trying, trying to BREATHE in and out—LOVE.
It is here that I know God or by whatever name you wish to call the One dwelling inside YOU. I am the fruit of the womb. I ‘TASTE’ for this moment for I am ripe, bruised in certain places and still sweet…a few sour patches adding a new flavor to my lips licking just enough for today.
So many faces pass by me this day—The greeting, “Buen Camino” a sacramental blessing ALL can share.
The changing faces of the land, the sky, the sun, the clouds…it feels as if I’m playing
hide & seek—
“Come out, come out wherever You are…”
AND again the Source of life—right there.
I light a candle in the Church of Our Lady—the glow still in my eyes. May I be a small flicker of its flame as I prepare to GO.
A book picked me from a shelf the eve before my walk (A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan)—Its beginning spoke these words to my soul…
“Poets claim that we capture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden (or temple) in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years.”
“The unknown element in the lives of other people is like that of nature, which each fresh scientific discovery merely reduces but does not abolish.”
Marcel Proust—In Search of Lost Time
so many emotions. I tried to close my eyes, BUT then a sudden LIGHT—then gone. Was something playing tricks on me? There it was again, AND this time She lingered
awhile…LUNA’S crescent face above my bed. I whispered GOODNIGHT and She faded behind the clouds.