First, I must note that in reaching the physical end of any discipline schedule – that was commenced in order to eliminate those common habits and inclinations that are not to the benefit of a person’s sanctification or general well-being of one’s spirit – there can be no assumption that the discipline has corrected the defect of concern. One’s schedule for specific disciplinarian routine is just that; one’s choice of schedule, and as such has no assured relationship to the depth and character of the ingrained habit or inclination. That’s a lot of words to state a simple fact…..
In getting my walk underway this morning, I realized that I was suffering certain physical discomforts early on in my walk, and through these discomforts I found I had an impatience with both the discomforts, and the fact that this day’s walk was far from completed, so I may find rest and relief. In other words, I was cranky.
Ever get that attitude going? It’s not a feeling; it has nothing to do with just being uncomfortable for the moment. It’s an attitude, and a dangerous one at that, for it can unravel so much effort that has been put into the discipline if not confronted and handled immediately. I’m talking about, of course, the disciplined routine I have placed myself under in my effort to engage and form habits that would promote, amongst other good attributes, patience with the ordinary and mundane. The cause? The approaching end of my journey on the Camino de Santiago, of course.
Habit forming comes in levels; you conquer at the lower level, and then have to face the challenges of the next level up. Kids see this all the time in their video games; level by level, the protagonist in the video game has to conquer all the foes before they get the “silver sword” to advance to the next level; where the foes are a whole lot bigger, faster, and angrier. And so it goes. I just discovered, to my chagrin, that I had been advanced to the next level – perhaps I was awarded the “silver boots” – and had no idea of the type of foe I’d be facing. This is a unique foe in that it is only going to appear once, its constitution is different than past foes, and it comes on the heels of pride; as all good foes in life do. Pride I say in that I suspect, while I have not consciously started congratulating myself for completing the task set before me on May 30th, that somewhere underneath my conscious discipline lies a naked pride unadorned by the very virtues I am trying to habituate.
This all tells me that this journey has really just begun; today. What I am suggesting is that while we are all pilgrims – yes, even non-Christians – we should not look at life as a single journey through this world; accumulating good virtues and hopeful for the next. Rather, I am saying that we need to daily examine our goals, restate their values and purposes, and reset the disciplines that will encourage and bring forth our goals as definitive, moment-by-moment deeds in our life. For the Christian this means morning reflection – an examination of your efforts as a Christian – and for the Catholic, I believe one should go to morning Mass whenever possible. It is in the community of faith that one finds strength to face their daily battles with temptation. To believe you can do these things on your own is just pride.
I am happy to report that I got over my attitude, my funk, and went on with my walk with good joy and clear destination.
Now, the weather was another thing. Warm enough? Oh quite. I have limited photos today because the mist had settled in during the night, and one really could not see much farther than fifty yards in any direction. This rendered photo-taking as a useless venture, and took the enjoyment of the beautiful vistas out of the play of the mind and spirit. This condition might have also contributed to my poor attitude. Ah! A second foe….. something less than what I was expecting; a disappointment.
What was interesting in this heavy mist was the “rain”. Walking in a cloud, rain just appears before your eyes; it’s not falling from a mile up, it’s forming right there about you. It’s quite unexpected to be walking along and a drop just settles on your shoulder, or arm, or square on the top of your head. Just a drop, and nothing more.
The sky did clear at about 10:00am, and so I was able to acquire a few shots before I came to Palas de Rei; my destination for this night. The landscape has changed little since I entered the region of Galicia. Once in Palas de Rei, I set myself up at the Albergue Meson de Benito and took a well-deserved nap for a couple of hours. From there; I organized my photos, wrote my post, ate a bocadillo (serrano jamon y queso), and waddled off to my bunk bed. (Everyone waddles after walking 15 miles. It’s kind of funny….. if you’re not a pilgrim.)
Tomorrow it’s on to Azura, and then O’Pedrouso, and then Santiago. I attended Mass tonight at 8:00pm. I prayed for God to protect me from myself.
Love and God Bless – Reese