Joy Reaches Down to My Soul

Recently, while attending my own weekend retreat with my parish, I found Dr. Michael Cunningham’s conference on “God in the Everyday” inspired me to go back and read one of my journal entries while on the Camino de Santiago de Campostella in Spain. It certainly was easy to find God in those every days…

I wrote:
Day Four and I find myself wishing to remember the sounds of the Camino. The clicking of the Pilgrim’s shells we were all given when we started out at Saria. We attach them to our backpacks, and they clink as we walk. The crunch of feet on the ground and the gentle greetings exchanged as we pass by each other, “Ola, Buen Camino”, everyone knows this simple blessing.

The gentle breeze through the trees as we walk along, the sound of the birds. Sometimes there is running water. The sights are equally beautiful and noteworthy. Flowers like roses and hydrangeas—larger than I’ve ever seen. The geraniums growing in pots on the quaint buildings along the way. Many ruins as well, where nature is reclaiming the land.

The ancient Celtic village pre-Roman times circa 400 B.C.E. Each tells of stories and echoes from the past. The blackberries growing along the sides of the roads. The steady stride of Pilgrims. The quiet conversations at cafes along the way, other groups calling out greetings to us. For days we’ve been crossing paths with a family from South Africa. They happily call out to us, “America” with large smiles on their faces as we take our rest. My husband waves right back with a “Hi, South Africa”.
In these gifted moments of encounter, I am filled with the sense of joy reaching down to my soul to realize our oneness. Everything belongs—everyone belongs, just below the surface and it is discovered along the Camino.
How we get disconnected when we all go home to our own place. Our “corner of the ring.” Yet, here it is most definitely “Peace on Earth” at least after day four and I’ve yet to be convinced otherwise.
Lord, I feel your presence on this journey.  You are here. You are in the sun shining through the trees, along the paths, in the Pilgrims, large and small, open and closed. Touch us all with your love! Prepare the soil of our hearts to receive you in whatever way you choose to gift us—even in the blackberries.

Thank you for the gift of the quiet moments and the loud moments—you are there!

The Camino stretches out before us like a river moving us closer to you with every step. I praise you, Lord God, for your presence and your love.

And so, I invite you to ponder:
What are the sounds and sights in your day which remind you of God’s presence?
How have you encountered God in those you’ve met today?

Before we began walking each day, my husband and I used this prayer. Now, we continue to say it every day as we move along the Camino of life.

Guardian of my soul,
guide me on my way today.
Keep me safe from harm.
Deepen my relationship with you,
your earth and all your family.
Strengthen your love within me that I may be a presence of your peace
in our world. Amen

Joyce Rupp; Life Lessons from the Camino.

From the Camino, image by Jean Bowler

Copyright 2019 Reflection by Jean Bowler
Copyright 2019 Photography by Jean Bowler

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