I have felt a call to do the Camino for years now; as I began to think about my Sabbatical time, the Camino came to me immediately, and I began to dream about it happening. Before I began the Camino, I knew that The Way always begins at home, but it wasn’t until I was out on the path that I really let that truth sink in.
Anyone who walks the Camino will tell you that you can never fully know what awaits you, and that you have to walk *your* Camino and no one else’s. I knew that I wanted to do the Camino to be broken open, to be able to better hear God’s calling and invitation for the next phase of my life and vocation, and unsurprisingly, it didn’t happen in the way I was expecting.
One of the surprising things for me was the spiritual longing I had for my religious practices. What I observed on the Camino was that the Camino always provides, and that’s true for the hyper religious and the deeply spiritual and the questioning souls. The spiritual longing that I had, however, stemmed from distance to our Anglican tradition along the way. I found myself in a middle space between our shared universal Christian tradition and access to the sacraments, which is where I most fully feel God’s grace, and this created a bit of holy dissonance in the work God was doing in me along The Way.
When I arrived in Santiago, as I extended my cupped hands at Santa Susana’s to receive the Sacrament for the first time on my Sabbatical journey, I realized just how much it enriched my Camino. To conclude my Camino with God’s holy sacrament was something so vital to my experience, and I’m so grateful that I was able to partake in Santiago.
Before I left Kentucky, someone who had done the Camino years before wrote me a note: “Enjoy the journey, forget the destination, every step is a gift.” These wise words rumbled around my head as I walked, and as I shifted plans, and as I received what God had to offer me along the way. But once I did arrive at Santiago, I knew that I needed to unpack the journey. It seems like the Camino has its own time, and even now, months later, I’m finding that it’s still working on me. And I’m so grateful to have made the connection with the Rev. Anna Noon, the Pilgrim Missioner, as a spiritual conversation partner as the Camino continues to shape me. The Anglican Centre in Santiago, even at this early stage, was so vital to my Camino and I’m so grateful for it.