Time, what a precious resource, but how can we use it best? I would say moment by moment. Something like the way it was in our childhood. All we had was the present moment, and we took in reality as it came. I think we sometimes have glimpses back into this youthful outlook. You know, the times in your life when you stop for a brief moment of reflection to say, “such and such was only last week?” I would term it best as fullness. A fullness of living, where every moment is soaked in and received by living outside yourself, or for an Other – that was the Camino.
But, let me back up to the start of my trip. It quickly became apparent that my time on the Camino would be most beneficial if I were to receive things as they came upon me. Not a bad idea considering I actually had control of very little. And so I did, the food was scrumptious, the scenery picturesque, our group enjoyable, the time for reflection treasured, and most of the bumps along the way were taken in stride. This receiving really opened me up to the goodness of the pilgrimage. But, I think the important question still remains, why a pilgrimage?
Of others we met, one answered to feel manly, another went for the woman he was pursuing, and another said she was using the trip to decide what comes next in her time of transition. All good reasons, because pilgrims search. But does this not mean that pilgrim is our very being since we journey through life searching? Do we have an answer when people ask us what we are searching for in the pilgrimage of life? What if our answers remain the same? For example, the man who went on the Camino to feel manly, where will he find his manliness when the Camino is over? He could jump to another physically challenging event, but really, what about when his body fails? Is he no longer a man, or is there something else that is the true indicator of manliness? I pose the questions, because the idealities they plague our culture and our college students, so I deal with them quite frequently.
Time, there is not much in a lifespan, and there was even less on my pilgrimage. I came back missing my time in Spain and saddened because I wanted more. But truly, my pilgrimage is not over, my journey on the Camino was only a piece of my journey through life. When I ask myself, should my short life yield the same results, a time of enjoyment followed by sadness, or do I need to hold fast to a hope of there being something more, I choose option two! But, the only answer to option two is the Other I mentioned in the first paragraph. I think you understand fully now the Being of reference is God, we are always the pilgrims who must choose to receive Him, and then if we do, when the journey is complete, we will receive everything in the fullness of heaven. This is what the Catholic Church stands by, this is what FOCUS does; I point students to the solution of hope in option two! I show them life itself is a pilgrimage; the Camino was simply a microcosm.