Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 4

Sunday, May 5

Norm and Marge Minnesota leave town with me, then I walk alone the rest of the day. Glorious sunshine! The cool breeze picks up appropriately as I pass over Alto de Perdon, wrought iron pilgrims pushing into the wind beside me.
I debate off and on all morning about whether to make my first detour, a choice to add 2.8 km to the day's walk to see Eunate, a unique Knights Templar church. It's not the extra time or kilometers that keep me indecisive, it's just that I cannot seem to choose between the two. Usually I make decisions easily, but this one is elusive. There is not a right or wrong. There is no one else to consider. Mushroom risotto and a citron Fanta lunch in Uterga refresh me, but give me no clear direction. Finally, walking into Muruzabal, the village where I must decide, I beg God to tell me what to do. Frustration pricks tears into my eyes, and I cannot understand why this is so terribly difficult. I draw closer to the very crossroads where I must either continue straight or turn left. I force myself to keep walking at my usual pace, refusing to slow and stop and ponder and think and deliberate, asking instead for God to lead me. At the very second my right foot steps into the road, angelic voices burst into song. Blindly, I realize it is Sunday and the church  at the corner is in service. As the choir sings praises to God, my soul joins in, and my foot veers left toward Eunate, circling the singing church with joy.

God is indeed with me, leading my baby steps toward him, and I vow to not stress again over any decision on the Camino. I relinquish not only control, but my natural desire to know my direction ahead of time. I will go each day wherever I feel led, and keep going until God leads me to stop. There is no downside to faith.

Walking, no, strutting toward Eunate, I let the tears flow down my dusty cheeks. Tears of frustration turn into tears of love and joy and faith and gratitude. Water into wine. Arriving an hour later at the  Iglesia de Santa Maria de Eunate, a 12th-century Romanesque church, I gratefully remove my backpack, then my boots, then my socks, and walk around the cobblestone path beneath the surrounding arches, letting the ancient stones massage my tired feet. After entering the silent sanctuary, I sit and pray with eyes wide open, soaking in the rustic splendor. But only for a minute or two, as a large, silent nun enters and gestures to me to leave, as she locks the door behind me. Smiling, I leave not only a few euro, but my heart in the basket by the door.
God's perfect timing often depends on our quick, non-thinking following of his nudge. I want to live like this daily, willing to turn mid-step in response to an idea from him. I don't want to miss even two minutes of a special blessing!

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