After such a pleasant stay in Carrion de los Condes, I felt ready for the next leg of my journey; Terradillo de Templarios. This small town is known both as a once stronghold of the Knights Templar and as the halfway point of the Camino Frances; or the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. For those who are counting, that means I’ve walked at least 250 miles so far.
And I will tell you that those miles are showing. The first ten days were primarily exploratory and wonderment of the beautiful country of northern Spain. Your strength is fresh, your mind is unconditioned and clear of the daily walks through raw lands. Your feet are just beginning to come to the conclusion that you have absolutely no affection for them. They may as well be mules. When a tough day comes, it’s something new and attacking to your soul. It assaults you, but in your mind the idea of the “Camino” hasn’t earned its legs of reality just yet.
From day ten to day twenty, comes the reality. Hey folks! I’m seeing myself definitely more like Frodo, from Lord of the Rings, than Alice on her way to Oz. Here at day seventeen, my feet are about as big as Frodo’s, and I do believe I have that dizzy-looking expression of Frodo’s when I’m out there on the Way. You have no idea the sense of exhilaration comes to a worn-down mind and body when you come over a crest just to see your destination but two or three kilometers away. Yeah. That’s still more than a mile, but it still feels really good.
Don’t think I’m complaining. The one thing you have to get into your head about The Way, is that it is much like The Way of Christ. There are two conditions for both journeys.
The first condition is acceptance of what may come in your journey; be it happiness or suffering. For only through acceptance can one hope to find the path that God set you upon when He first created you in His infinitely verdant mind. And it will only be through God’s path, His will, that you will achieve happiness and peace
The second condition is perseverance. Only with diligence, determination, and endurance are you going to walk The Way of Christ, and the Camino de Santiago. Diligence in the attention to the smallest detail, and the care for His title conferred upon you, Steward (authority and responsibility), God has given you over those you love through family, and those things we call possessions. Any pilgrim will tell you of his or her attention to their backpack, the possessions held within, and their own physical well-being. A lost water bottle or first aid kit, a blister, and aching shoulder from the weight of the pack are not minor inconveniences; they are threatening agents that strive to bring you down. A pilgrim gives slow and careful attention to such matters. Determination is that quality that makes the heart beat, the lungs breathe, and the feet move forward. It takes up the soul after motivation conceives the desire. Determination is the need to the purpose. And finally, endurance is that quality that sees no choice in this world, but the truth that God calls us all to His service. We are chosen. To submit to your Lord now, in this world, is to achieve the glory in the next. Endurance; the never-ending service to all things other than your ego, and the knowledge that in service to others, there awaits a greater glory than all that this world has to offer.
In a sense I have laid out for you two of the three conditions that Paul asks us to seek in 1 Corinthians 13. Acceptance is faith; faith in that what God gifts you, and what God brings you is that which will prepare you for His Kingdom. Perseverance is hope; that confident expectation that, in obedience to God’s will, all things will be fulfilled in your eternal life to come. Of the three conditions that God’s calls us to, only love is that condition for which there can be no substitute word or phrase, no dress-rehearsal or demonstration. Love is God’s most personal call to each of us; to bring us into love with Him and, in turn, with all mankind. We have been made in God’s image. Love for man is but love for God’s will.
I say all of this, yes for you, but after this day’s journey, more as a reminder for myself. It was another of those miserable days.
My camera was muzzled much of the day due to a chilling, steady downpour of rain and blustery winds. There was little shelter, as we were in a remote portion of bogland; actually an original, 2000 year-old, Roman-constructed road. This left us all to do nothing other than walk it out, and we did for some miles along a muddied and uneven path.
After 15 kilometers of this horrid weather – some three hours of walking – the town of Caldadilla de la Cueza came into view, and I, along with many pilgrims, found cover and warmth at the Hostal Camino Real Bar, where coffee, tortilla de patata, and bocadillos were served to the truly frozen and rain-drenched. By the time I left, the rain had relented its persecution, and I was able to finish my march through Ledigos and onto Terradillo de Templarios.
Only through God’s borrowed strength, I found myself in shelter at an Albergue; nursing my blisters, my aches, my chilled body in a hot shower, a two-hour nap, and a filling dinner at 7:00pm. Lights out.
Love and God Bless – Reese