Fri 29th Jan – Leon
Yesterday as i approached Leon, i knew that, as with any city, the approach would be noisy with traffic and people. With this in mind i put my music on to blot out the racket.
It was at this point that i was joined by another pilgrim who clearly wanted to walk with me as we entered the city. I on the other hand wanted to be alone. If i walked quickly the other pilgrim was right behind me. If i stopped to take a photo, they stopped to fiddle with their boot or look at a stone. I started to feel a bit frustrated with the situation. I still had my music on during all of this. A little bit further into the city and the pilgrim began to talk to me – i still had my earphones on! In the end i simply turned the music off and grudgingly listened to what the person was asking me – this person clearly needed to talk and no obvious hints that i didn’t was going to stop them from doing so. I was quite annoyed!
When i arrived at the albergue i called my bank to see why i had been unable to withdraw any money from the cashpoint that day. It turns out to be a problem i cannot deal with until i return. I wasn’t sure if i would have enough money to feed and accomadate myself to the end of the trip, and how long will the problem take to solve once i am back. I have things to pay for on my return.
I began to think that i may need to camp toward the end of the trip, but what about food? I began to feel quite vulnerable but equally realised there is nothing i can do about it.
I will still deliver the prayers i carry to santiago even if the prayers are said with my last breath.
This is happening for a reason and whatever the reason is, i accept it and i will do the best i can with the situation i have in front of me. What more can i do?
This morning as i was preparing to leave the same pilgrim who had shadowed me yesterday asked me where i would be heading for because they knew it was my birthday and wanted to be there with me for my special day. I said that in fact i intended to stay in Leon.
At this point they gave me a bar of chocolate, a card and a small gift wrapped in paper.
I felt humbled and guilty fomy unkind thoughts of the previous toward this pilgrim. Not because i didn’t want to talk to them but because i hadn’t thought to think that maybe they needed some company and support at that time, as we all do from time to time. Even strong people , i am sure go through these unexpected, unexplainable moments when they just don’t feel right.
We all said our goodbyes to one another and went our seperate ways.
I headed for the post office to see if i had to pay extra if i needed the Santiago post office to keep my surplus stuff i had sent there longer than the agreed 30 days. I would need to leave it there for 10 days longer if possible. I was told i need not worry. Pilgrim bags can stay longer without any problem. This was good news. I may need to get my tent back but i don’t want to carry the other 12.5 kg all over the countryside as well.
I passed the Inglesia de San Francisco ( St. Francis of Assissi ) , which i thought appropriate if i had nothing left before my trip ended. I decided to go inside and say more prayers as i had promised the night before.
The prayers felt different this time.
I felt the uncertainty, fear, loneliness and suffering of the people i prayed for much deeper than on occasions.
We all suffer, but all we can do is to try our very best to rise above the feelings of despair as they wash over us.
While we still have breath, we live, and hard as it may be, we need to try to find the joy in living.
It was a very emotional time for me, sitting at the front of the church saying prayers for the people who asked and many more who didn’t.
I had felt drained when i’d started, now i was exhausted, but i kept going and stayed focused.
As i stumbled from the church, a beggar asked me for some money……..I may be in need of it myself in time, but for now i had enough, so i gave him a Euro.
Posted from ES
posted Fri Jan 29, 2010