I’ll be in Spain in October to walk the Camino de Santiago for the first time. It has been a desire of mine for a long time since growing up Catholic and now as an Episcopalian. I’m fortunate to be traveling with the UTO Pilgrims and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. The Bishop of Spain will be joining us for part of the journey, and we’ll get to explore Madrid and Santiago.
I’ve just been released to full physical activity post my hip replacement, so I’m “in training” to build up my endurance to walk the 11-18 miles/day that will make up the Camino. In addition to physical training, I’m also doing weekly “spiritual exercises” to make sure that I am mentally ready and spiritually open to the Walk.
This week, I’ve undertaken to write a spiritual biography. This is a small excerpt below, but I hope that you will also take the time this week to focus on your spiritual journey to help discern where you have been and where you are today.
The long version of my spiritual biography through 2012 is chronicled in my memoir, Chasing My Father. A lot has happened in the past 7 years in my relationship with God and with others.
I no longer ever get angry with God. I know that I am His beloved child and that He only wants what is the best for me, no matter what I want. It is a good relationship when I’m not mad at Him for the challenges we face in today’s world.
My cancer has not returned after the two episodes outlined in my book. I was unaware how physical maladies can influence our relationship with God. But my cancer in 2006 changed me forever. I don’t take days for granted and I have a greater empathy for people’s challenges even when they aren’t physically obvious.
I haven’t been back to South Africa since 2013, not for lack of interest, but I have not had an opportunity to go on another trip. I enjoyed a trip to Greece and Turkey in 2014 with my church but it was more about the fellowship than a mission trip. But fellowship is so important! I realize that my relationship with God informs my relationships with others.
I’ve learned a lot about who to trust and who not to trust. The Porch Club has ceased to exist after a falling out between two of the members. Relationships are tenuous and don’t always last forever. I’ve learned a lot about narcissism. It has been hard for me to accept that not all people that go to church are good people, and not all good people go to church.
I’ve learned that as humans we all have a desire to be loved and some of us find destructive ways to fulfill that need. But finding people who can be representatives of Christ to you and nurturing those relationships is the greatest joy. Just as I have felt loved, I need to always remember to try to be the best “light of Christ” that I can be to others.
What has been most enlightening in my faith is my role as a lay healing minister. It is such a privilege to pray for people that are so brave to come forward in their vulnerability to ask for prayers. It is what it means to be a servant to others.
I’ve also learned that you never stop growing in your spiritual life. It is not a place to “get to”, but instead a mystery that continues to unfold, often when we least expect it. It is the excitement of the mystery that awakens me each morning!
I pray that my Camino will add to this spiritual biography through rest, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims since 1092, and the joy in meeting others who share God’s love.
I’ll also be walking to raise money through the United Thank Offering (UTO) for an Anglican Centre to be opened in Santiago. It will be a place of rest, a place of worship where even women can celebrate, and a place where all baptized Christians can participate in Communion. A grant will match donations received through December 2019. More information at this link: https://unitedthankoffering.com/camino/. The most recent newsletter is here: El Camino Summer 2019 Newsletter.
Blessings, my friend,