Friday, October 9, 2009

"You walk the Camino -- then the Camino walks you...."

One of my friends asked for the address of the blog again: "I didn't know you were still posting," he said. He seemed surprised.

I'm surprised too. We've stopped walking, but the Camino isn't over. I rehearse the days' destinations like a mantra: Puente la Reina, Estella, Los Arcos, Viana. I wonder about our fellow pilgrims: how they are -- and where. I continue conversations started along the way.

So, the Camino continues.

One of the followers of this blog -- we call you dear people our cyber-Caministas! --put it powerfully: "You walk the Camino -- and then it walks you." That's exactly what's going on. That's why we can't shake the experience. Nor would we want to. We enjoy a great meal all over again by telling the stories. We resurrect the dead by remembering them, whether with tears or with laughter. And as we tell the stories, as we share the memories, we continue to learn from them. So it is with the Camino.

I shared dinner last night with a dear friend, whom I hadn't seen since the trip. Talking with her brought an insight out of a Camino story I'd told many times before, but never to her. She brought to light something I hadn't seen before; she showed me where to go with an insight.

On the Camino we looked for yellow arrows like the one in the photo above. Now we look to our friends for direction. They don't fail us, but the markings aren't bright yellow either. The way forward is more subtle, more nuanced.

The Camino continues.

So will this blog.

The Camino was the first of a three-stage project, each stage involving some form of pilgrimage. In January, 2010 we'll accompany a delegation of seminary students to the Lutheran Student Center in Mexico City, where they will do a two-week "cross-cultural" experience in one of the world's largest and most complex cities. Then, in March, 2010 we'll visit an on-going immersion program run by Santa Clara University at the Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador. Affiliated with the Jesuit university in San Salvador, the program starts in January. By March the students will be well into their semester, well-integrated into their community learning sites, and well on their way to processing the experience.

In stages two and three, we'll be particularly interested to see how these two immersion experiences work as post-modern versions of the ancient practice of pilgrimage.

Yes, the Camino continues. Thanks for being on the way with us.

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