"Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow." (Psalm 25:4)
For the past 20+ days I've been following the Facebook and blog posts of a friend who is hiking the Camino de Santiago. I hiked my own camino in 2009 and it was a profound experience of transformation.
My friend is hiking with her computer, traveling shorter miles each day and spending time work and writing. Its been such a joy to remember my own pilgrimage through her words and pictures. I have gotten to share a bit with her some of the hidden gems and as I hear her own adventures, I have to smile.
Coming off of the camino, most pilgrims will say that they miss two things:
1. While you're on the Camino, everyone you meet, everyone you cross paths with, everyone who sees you, wishes you "Buen Camino!" or Good Journey! Most of these people will never see you again; their lives are not changed by your presence; they have no reason to stop their work or their day to wish you a good journey, yet they do. There is a feeling of the blessed community in the gesture. Who ever you are, where ever you are going, be well my friend, have a good journey.
2. The other thing that most pilgrims will say that they miss is following the yellow arrows or flechas. While I was on the Camino, I had more then my share of frustrating moments trying to find the arrows through any given town :) but there was always a single goal... a single direction to come back to. Even when I deviated from the path, got stuck in flooding pastures, and had to stare down a rather large cow and some mean dogs to get back to the path, the arrows were there, waiting to show me the way.
I think that the Psalmist in the passage above speaks of a deep human need for purpose and direction. There have been times lately, as my life ebbs and flows and changes direction, when I have felt lost. I have felt like I should be moving towards something... but God has thrown me into another eddie and I feel like I'm spinning in circles. It is in those moments when I pray for a yellow arrow like on the Camino to show me the way... sometimes my prayers are answered, sometimes they are not...
...and sometimes, as Rumi writes in his poem "Chickpea to Cook" God knocks us back into the pot to boil, and boil, and boil... so that we season, we age, and we grow wise. So that when we walk out of our door the next morning, or the next, we see that the yellow arrows pointed the way are etched into our hearts and all we need to do is follow.