Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bob Reflects on Santiago Eve

Here I am in O Pino, only 12 miles from Santiago.  It has turned cool, and, fortunately for me, the rain or drizzle held off until after I got here.  I am snug and warm and have the afternoon free in what feels like a roadside stop.  I will probably leave here about six in the morning.  I've finished my last hand was of clothes!

Last night I woke up about three and got to thinking about this trip.  When I started it, I thought of the whole thing as an expression of gratitude for this rich and exciting life I've led.  Naturally there have been very tender moments as I have thought about various experiences I have had, some sad and some sweet.  And, through the many people I have met, I have come to appreciate aspects of my self, and I have been deeply moved at some of the tender moments with others.  Some of those gestures have been large demonstrations of joy being exchanged.  Others have been as simple as the Dutch woman who reached out and touched my arm with massive tenderness.  There has been much gratitude on the Camino.

But, the majority of my conscious gratitude has been my growth in thankfulness for my friends and family.  I have felt others who are genuinely interested in what I am doing.  I have loved the "encourages" even from one of my brothers and so many others I have not seen in years.  Three friends from high school, many people who seemed to have drifted out of my life - there you are cheering me on!   I am so lucky to know each of you and to have shared experiences with you!

These past two days I have been walking through eucalypts forests.  The aroma from the trees and falling leaves has transported me back to 1989 when I moved to San Francisco.  I had told my wife and my children that I am gay (that was the single most painful moment in my life) , and I had moved west to get to know this new me, to learn how to integrate him with other aspects of my self.  It was a risky and rich time in my life.  The smell from the trees brought back so many, many memories!  And I felt grateful for my life once again.  No one wants to hurt people who love us.  And I still wince at the thought of the way I caused pain in my family.  But, almost simultaneously, I rejoice at being able to be more fully who I am.  At the end of the day, I am so very grateful for all that followed that time.

This Camino has been somewhat similar although not nearly so dynamic.  Here I am sitting around feeling like my life no longer has much possibility and BOOM! I make a decision that changes me deeply.  Walking the Camino is much much harder than I imagined.  Being able to cope with unexpected events with resilience has been confidence building.  Whole I am not sure what is ahead, I know there are choices, some may be very hard others almost effortless.  I am more than I thought I was as I near the age of 73.  And I am so grateful for that awareness.

My daughter, Ashley's partner, Sandra said she expected whops and hollars tomorrow.  I am not one much given to those kinds of expressions.  But I believe I will walk into Santiago with a deep and rich gratitude for a,, that has been given me, for the love and support of so many, and with a sense of excitement about a future that I thought was limited.  I also will be very tired and excited not to have to walk this rocky uphill path again.

If you are reading this, you Re a significant player in what has happened and what lies ahead.  Thank you so much for caring for me so.

Buen Camino to all!

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