Good things do come to an end. When the journey is over, we all have good intentions to keep in touch. Parting words such as:
Come and visit me in the island
Let’s e-mail one another
Here’s my phone number and let’s chin wag
The common response is “Sure, Lets”.
Listening to all these parting words, maybe just maybe, I could be wrong. Having been a pilgrim, experience dictates it’s not going to happen. So I thought, give chance a chance.I did keep in touch via e-mail, group e-mail. I sent out birthday wishes, prayer cards, and Advent reflection. All good in the beginning and bit by bit, silence. There is still hope for there was still one person who wants to remain. I was asked if I’m still in touch with the group. No, my response, you are the last person standing.Keeping a real friendship when one is a pilgrim, one has to be aware what the real motive is behind. We may be brothers and sisters in Christ, there’s always an ulterior motive. My motive is clear that I remain faithful to my pilgrim progress, no strings to bind but to my faith.In the end the last person standing found a better offer for I am waiting this to happen since I played cupid between them. Ah, love. I am so happy for both of them.So, how do you say Goodbye? Facetiously, I say see you in the next life. In reality, say so long and let them go. Knowing too well the price to pay for being fully human and alive when saying goodbye, it’s emotive. And the real answer is blowing in the wind.There are questions and the common ones are what did you buy and did you take pictures. Of course, I went shopping, that’s part of the itinerary. Tourist is herded like cows and dropped them off to a shopping centre. Pictures? Sure, faceless ones are great and photos that speak the divine but they are elusive. To keep the economy going, one has to buy the obligatory group picture. The professional photographers work so hard for the tourist industry and I am very supportive of them, even I detest having to pose. Besides, I only look at this picture once and stored away. So here goes, nothing. If you can guess where this picture is taken and which post I mentioned this place, I will send you the original. The first correct answer, wins.And YES. I am in the picture!
John Bunyan’s main character is Christian who was stricken by spiritual crisis and set out on a pilgrimage to find salvation. In his journey he met an Evangelist, Obstinate, Pliable, Help, Wordly Wiseman, Hypocrisy, Discretion, Piety, Prudence, Charity, Faithful, Angels, Despair, Hopeful, Talkative, Contrite, and others. But of course, Christian has a special guide that steers him to the right path.Strange names for these characters are present in the dynamics of being part of big group on a pilgrimage. Strong characters that we all play a part with the hope that peace and healing will come our way. Just like Christian, our deep faith and belief, we are guided by the Holy Spirit.It would be absurd to think that we are full of virtues just because we are on a spiritual quest. However, we strive to see the goodness of one another. Sure, disagreement can surface; that is the reality of it all. There seem to be more questions than answers when we pray along the way. The force of evil will make sure that peace will be broken amongst us. One has to be aware of this as it happens and not let it take over our will. As for me, I bear in mind the teaching of Thomas Merton on the journey of a pilgrim, that it is a time for solitude to deepen our love, faith and prayer.O Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire to please you. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to make my journey alone.
For the longest time, I kept an article from Walkers’ World “If You Go…” dated year 2004.
Gate of Pardon
That year would have been the best time to go because of the Porta Santa or Gate of Pardon opens during Holy Year when the festival of July 25 falls on a Sunday for the pilgrims to pass through. Going through the door, your sins would be forgiven. With all the sins I accumulated over the years, I don’t think I would fit in that door.
Again I missed out year 2010 and the next time it will open is year 2021. Another 8 years to go and doing the math, I might as well give you how old I will be then. Nah.
One of the reasons I joined the 2012 pilgrimage was because of Santiago de Compostela.
My best friend spoke constantly about Compostela and asked me when I am going so I can bring pictures and tell her stories. By the time I went, she has left the earth. Jan lived vicariously about the stories of my travels.
I was sad going there because Jan was in my mind. Bo-ho-ho. Woe is me. And I heard her say in my head “shut up and enjoy yourself.” So I did.
It was a long walk before we reached the plaza of the main Cathedral, it was breath-taking. Compostela is the third most important church after Rome and Jerusalem in Christendom. I can die now having visited all three.
The legend says that this is the place where St. James remained and died. The Church has not validated or agreed to this, but hey, if it helps humanity regardless of race and creed, let the sleeping dog lie.
We attended the Pilgrim’s Mass where the giant incense burner is lit, pulled up and pushed in an upswing, just like a pendulum. The smell of incense filling my lungs, the choir singing in the background, the soft-spoken prayers, mesmerized by the swinging of the incense burner, suddenly in my mind, there she is. Jan is hanging on to the rope of the burner and swinging along with it.
I was laughing, quietly, my mind is so weird. Did I really see her?
Finally, I signed up with Walkers’ World to do the walk at Santiago de Compostela this October and I am looking forwardto my next annual pilgrimage.
There goes Uncle C (UC) gathering his harem to take to the Tower of Love. Watching UC with all these single women in the pilgrimage was so much fun. I’m so glad he is enjoying himself. There are a few … Continue reading →