Day 5. Puente La Reina to Estella. 21.9km. With elevation 23.4km.
Day 6. Estella to Los Arcos. 21.5 km. With elevation 23.3km.
Making friends on the Camino is easy. People on the Camino are eager to strike up a conversation and share the journey together. We walk the same walk, but our stories are different, yet as we walk our stories unfold as we share a few chapters of our tale. Different faiths, different cultures, different nationalities all walking together to discover the way of St. James. We share steps, stories, and meals, revealing a friendship that is paved in our paths. The truths of our companionship shed our separateness and we unite in mutuality. Kinship becomes the way of the Camino as we gather for our shared way of life. Trust is a apparent as iPads, backpacks, and gear is left haphazardly around the albergue with little fear of theft or harm.
When something happens to one pilgrim it happens to us all. Why would one steal or harm a fellow pilgrim?
While thousands of miles away, the events of Orlando have reached our paths. As I consider the weight of yet another mass-shooting and cries to desecrate an entire faith tradition, I cannot think of my time on this Camino.
What if we took more time walking with one another? What if we learned more about and from other cultures and other ways of life? What if we shared meals and laughter with a different race of people? What if we learned to listen more and talk less?
Would we still consider a population of people and their actions as “intrinsically evil”? Would we still spend as much time in fear and arming ourselves to death? Would we still find a faith tradition and culture so different from our own that we’d willingly wall them off from us?
Perhaps by learning to walk together, we can learn to grow together. That does not mean that we have to agree with everything, but it might mean that our perspective may change. Perhaps we can see a Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, Croatian, Christian, Danish, Mexican, Korean, Liberal, or Conservative for what they truly are, human.
We are all pilgrims traveling the Camino of life. Our starting points may be different, and we might travel different paths, but in the end, our destination is the same. What happens to one pilgrim, happens to all pilgrims.
I am sad, angry, and disgusted by the recent events not just because they happened, but because I let them happen. I am believer in a faith tradition that respectively calls the actions of the LGBTQ community “intrinsically evil.” I am citizen of a country that actively legislates against gun restrictions for people on the terrorism watch list or who fail a background check. I am a member of the human race who witnesses time and time again the pains of the world. I am guilty for the event in Orlando, just as I am guilty of so much more.
My legs are tired and my knees are weak, but tomorrow I’ll keep walking. Walking towards a world of promise. Walking towards a world of hope. Walking towards a way of life where people no longer live in fear and the song birds sing of new life. I’ll keep walking, we will all keep walking.