My phone is going to die soon and since the plugs are very limited tonight I need to reserve some power to keep my alarm functional until I can power up in the morning.
First, I can't thank you enough for the outpouring of encouragement I received after yesterday's post. The east coast is 6hrs behind me so I woke up to many comments, emails and notes in a way that was truly touching. It gave me just the boost I needed to tackle today and tackle it we did.
I very much think of all of you reading this as my traveling companions. And so I proudly say that WE did 18miles today and caught up to a proper end of day 3. Woot!
Notations on the day are probably best narrated by my incessant Facebook postings today. So stroll over to Facebook.com/Neunaber and friend me to read and see all the pictures!
I'll use this space to acknowledge a social/spiritual aspect of the Camino.
I have met people from all over the world. There are the English speaking Aussies (tons of them!), Irish (lots of those too!), Canadians, Americans, UK, and Dutch. The French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Belgian and Mexican. That's the list that springs to mind immediately. We could throw our own Olympics around these parts. It's amazing.
Today involved a lot of powering by people so I didn't chat too many people up. Until the Swede came upon me as we shared our final few Kms into Pamplona. He was a likable guy with good English and very talkative. And in the spirit of the Camino, I sought 'to understand not to be understood'. He freely poured out an incredible amount of very deep thought and personal information. But he said something that struck a deep cord in me:
There is a difference between believing in God, and trusting Him.
If I were you (even as the religious Catholic that I am), I would sort of roll my eyes and just skim this section. BUT it's important that you DON'T- so hang with me for a little bit.
Yes, I would consider myself a religious Catholic. I converted 4 years ago but I'm not a zealot, I don't proselytize, and for better or worse (in the eyes of the church) I have no interest in trying to get someone to believe something in particular. But as for me, it's a significant part of my life. NOW, that said consider this:
My first significant revelation of this trip is that I know I'm not capable of doing this on my own. I knew that this would be physically and mentally demanding and I knew from the outset that my faith would be transformed, but what I didn't realize is that I would NEED God so badly.
The swede told me "the rich man (by modern definition anybody with any kind of means at all really) is a believer. Believers always have an explanation. There's bread on the table bc I went to the store, paid for it and brought it home. The poor man trusts God, because he didn't know how or if there would be bread on the table at the end of the day".
So there are 2 takeaways:
1. I have lived a truly rich life. I don't drive a BMW and didn't go to an Ivy League school. I'm not talking that kind of rich. I'm talking that I've never wanted for a basic physical (thing or bodily) need. Sure I have a personal relationship w God and I have leaned on him. But never before have I not known if I would physically finish the day healthy and well.
2. That has now changed. What the swede said helped me put my finger on the emotion of the past couple of days. What I feel a deep, profound gratitude for my God the likes of which I have never known. I know-- for a FACT-- that were it not for divine support I would be in terrible physical and mental condition right now.
I'm not trying to be preachy or too forthcoming with my spiritual development on the Camino on this blog.
But I felt it was important for you to get insight into my gratitude. When I say I'm grateful to have made it to my end point for the day, it's not "I dodged a bullet" gratitude, it's authentic "I couldn't have done this without You" gratitude.
Ok. I'm done and have stepped down from my soapbox. The battery is low and Tylenol PM is working.
Tomorrow is supposed to be grueling and ill likely lose my 3G and cell service so hang tight until I can get back on the grid if I fall off.