Hi – my name is Jennifer Cluff. I’m married to Bill. And he’s asked me to write this blog. And so I do reluctantly. Writing and me are are not good friends.
First I would like to thank you all for helping Bill remember his spiritual self through this blog. Your kindness in sharing your energy with him is extraordinary. And when he reads out to me some of the responses he receives, I get a tangible reminder of how the world is changing in a most wonderful way. I find it wonderful that people are communicating and sharing their innermost feelings on this blog. People we don’t know. People across the other side of the world. Really, it’s amazing. And it’s wonderful.
I must state very emphatically that I’m not a Camino walker. I have no desire to be so. I love Spain, I love Spanish food, I love walking, I love walking meditation, I love being on my own, I love the idea of the adventure of an albergue, I just LOVE churches, I love not washing my hair, but I have no desire whatsoever to walk the Camino. Bill had a strong calling. I don’t, and never had.
When I said good-bye to Bill at Sydney airport I was so relieved that I didn’t have to hear about the Camino for at least 24 hours, until he landed.
He drove me crazy for 6 months with his packing and unpacking, his weighing and discussions about all that he had weighed. On and on and on. When I kissed him goodbye at the airport, I was so happy he was finally on his way and our conversations could be about the reality of the Camino rather than the anxiety of what may happen.
(Actually, my last memory of saying goodbye to Bill is this: He wanted me to take a photo of him with his backpack just about to enter Immigration. I took the photo but he wasn’t happy with it. He told me it was out out of focus and there was too much “headroom.” He wanted me to take another one, which I did, and he wasn’t happy with that one either. So I took yet another, which he checked, then another one, then another one until I got one with just the right amount of “headroom,” but it was still “soft.” If his plane hadn’t been about to board I would have been there all afternoon. As he disappeared into Immigration and I walked away, I really felt sorry for any pilgrim who had to take his photo on the Camino!)
So finally he was gone and at last I had space where Bill wouldn’t be coming into the room wanting to talk about the Camino. You have no idea how obsessive he became. No matter what we talked about, no matter who we talked to, Bill could weave the Camino into any conversation. But at last I was free of all that.
During his pilgrimage, I would ring him 3 times a day 4.30pm, 7.30pm and 10.30pm. There were times when he was very distraught with his pain, and there were times when he genuinely didn’t feel he could finish. I would tell him simply this was something he chose to do. And that he COULD overcome his pain, and he COULD finish, because I simply knew he could.
For me, intuitively I knew I had to make the most of my time alone to go on my own adventure. And this I did. I believe everyday is a pilgrimage and with Bill away, I was given an opportunity to devote more time each day to meditation and contemplation, and so I grabbed it.
I never doubted Bill would complete the Camino. What I did wonder though was whether he would be able to bring his pilgrim self home with him. Could he bring his new found tolerance and relaxation back to his normal routine? Well he has! All I can say is that the Camino is a powerful force for transformation.
All of us are living through a time of extraordinary change. It is hard to stay calm while the world as we know it is being re-shaped. Without a doubt I believe that those of you who are called to walk the energy line of the Camino are helping to ease us all gracefully through this change.