As many of you might know, Julian Lord (who is a regular on this blog) last year completed another Camino.
Julian walked his first Camino back in 1992, when most of us had never heard of it, and it was nothing like it is today.
He’s since walked several more – each tumultuously, it seems. This last pilgrimage was no different. In fact if anything, it was even more demanding, on many levels.
Here is his guest blog:
NOT THE END
My 2014 walk was the hardest ever, but at this point I think the worst of it has been after the return.
I’m lingering in the No-Mans-Land of an unfinished pilgrimage, in a manner that is shockingly new to me, and both raw and painful.
Physically, I am simultaneously strengthened and diminished – because whilst my weight is seriously down and my knees far less in pain, my still-healing broken wrist suffered at El Burgo Ranero continues to trouble me and it is a constant reminder keeping me in the then and there of the Camino, not in the hic et nunc of a proper return.
Physically, my motivation for last year’s walk continues to exist – I still need to lose weight ; I still need to build up my muscles ; and that medical need is about 2/3rds done, but the last 1/3rd is still waiting for me, over there, on the Francès.
Practically, the Camino bust my backpack, it bust my boots (and I need the next larger size now LOL), it stole my phone, it stole my camera and virtually all my 2014 photos, and my Staff of 15 years good friendship has just now shivered over nearly its entire length – and yet all of these things simply bring to mind the sheer beauty of that part of the return journey on the Camino that I was able to do, how natural it felt, how proper, so that for the very first time in my career as a Pilgrim of Santiago, I’m feeling myself subjected to the very feeling that I’ve warned so many others about, of feeling “stuck”, over there, yonder on the Camino and detached from the true destination of one’s pilgrimage – Home.
Religiously, last year was a failure. It is quite clearly not insignificant that I found myself unable to perform my ordinary Catholic religious duties at the Cathedral – and I mean physically unable, not religiously – especially given that this physical difficulty has become quite annoyingly persistent on the Sundays.
Financially – LOL what a disaster !!!
Mentally, all I’m doing now is biding my time and trying to kid myself that there’s any other real possibility other than getting back to Santiago to actually complete this Pilgrimage and then to walk back from there to France.
I feel lost – not mentally nor in fact spiritually, but geographically ; as if I’m not where I’m supposed to be, almost as if I’m living my current circumstances as a squatter instead of being where I belong – elsewhere.
I want to walk to the Pyrenees and over them, to France and home, from my favourite city in Spain, and to go and get there all that I lost, all I suffered, and bring it back with me as precious belongings so that I shall at last take them home with me in my heart and body and memory and soul.
I have lost something on the Camino – and I need to go and get it back.
Sus Eia – Sus Eia ; and may God bring me back to what I need